Officials of the Lagos State Office of Education Quality Assurance and an officer from the Maroko police station, Clement Ekere, on Thursday, visited Dowen College, hours after the story of the controversial death of Sylvester Oromoni, a student of the school went viral on social media.
On Wednesday, December 1, the cousin of late Sylvester Oromoni identified as Perrison Oromoni, took to his Twitter @Perrisonoromoni to narrate how his late cousin was allegedly battered at Dowen college before he died on November 30.
He also called out the names of some students of the school whom he accused of being responsible for the harassment and the eventual death of his cousin, a junior secondary school student of the school, over his refusal to join an unnamed cult group.
He said a series of tests and X-rays conducted on the deceased showed that he sustained severe internal injuries from the beatings he received from the students.
The team of the state’s officials who visited the school on a tour issued a statement on Friday afternoon, to condole the family of the late student.
The statement signed by an assistant director, public affairs unit of the ministry, Ganiu Lawal noted that preliminary findings have shown that the deceased was a student of the school and that efforts are in place to get to the root of the matter.
The statement reads in part, “The State Government is in touch with the parents in this difficult time.
“We reassure the family of the late Sylvester Oromoni Junior and Lagosians at large that efforts are being made to unravel the circumstances leading to his demise, even as we reiterate the Government’s commitment to Child Protection.”
Dowen College’s Statement
The school in a statement signed by the school principal, Adebisi Layiwola, which also went viral on social media on Wednesday, said, “On the 21st day of November 2021, one of the Hostel Parents reported to the management that the young boy was injured while playing football. The resident registered nurse immediately administered first aid on him and after he expressed relief, was released to return to his hostel room.
“He was in class on Monday 22nd day of November 2021, but during school hours one of his friends accompanied him to the Sick Bay where he complained of some pain in his hip. The doctor examined him and prescribed Ibuprofen for the pain, while the nurse massaged his leg, after which he felt a bit better.”
The statement claimed that “the resident doctor called the deceased’s mother reporting the incident and requesting that she should come for him so that he could get further medical attention.
“The mother, however, said she was not in Lagos while she spoke and prayed with him on the phone and promised to send the guardian to pick him up immediately for further medical attention.
“When the guardian failed to show up, the next day on the 23rd of November 2021, the doctor called the mother again and this time, she assured that his guardian would pick him from school.”
According to the school, “the guardian later showed up and took the deceased for X-ray, the result of which it said revealed that no part of the boy’s body was broken or injured”.
“The resident doctor also called the mother later in the week to check up on his progress but she informed the doctor that he was sleeping at the time. The Principal also spoke with the mother on the phone to enquire about his progress and she reported that he was having a massage and gave the phone to him to speak with the principal,” the statement added.
“It was therefore with a rude shock that it received the news of the student’s death and the accompanying allegations.
“We immediately commenced investigations and invited the students allegedly mentioned for an interview. His guardian was also present during the interviews, which revealed that nothing of such happened,” the statement said.
Mr Oromoni’s Narration
The bereaved father, Mr Oromoni, said his son was transferred to Delta State where a series of tests was conducted and ”last-minute open confessions” by the deceased allegedly confirmed that he was molested and violently abused by five senior students in the school.
The father said his son suffered liver enlargement due to congealed blood.
He said, before he could make a return trip to Warri towards facilitating Junior’s transfer to the teaching hospital, “the boy drew what became his last breath. It was also claimed that Junior was fed a liquid substance described as “a chemical” for refusing to join the group.”
The father was quoted as saying; “My son suffered. His birthday is next tomorrow (Dec 4). I’ll celebrate it. I’ll have a cake baked. I’ll cut it on his behalf. The boys they mentioned were also reported to the school last term when they bullied Junior and collected all his foodstuff; clothes. I have two daughters, one of whom graduated earlier. I had to remove the second after this incident. They asked this boy to describe the sister’s privates and this got to us.
“Junior said, ‘mummy, I didn’t play ball; I didn’t fall.’ He jumped off his hostel bed. They kicked him, and marched on his waist. Other students ran off. They threatened to kill them all if they spoke a word to the school staff. They warned Junior to say he sustained injuries while playing ball. They threatened him. If you ask the roommate, they’d all lie. They matched his ribs and waist. All that pain for a 12-year-old.”
Multiple videos of the deceased groaning in excruciating pains before his death surfaced on social media.