Dowen College: Police likely to question four boys mentioned by Sylvester today

OVER 160,000 people have signed petitions seeking the investigation and prosecution of those involved in the torture of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki Lagos, which led to his death. Checks by the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday evening revealed that a total of seven petitions hosted on the Change.org platform have been written by interested persons and organisations since December 3. 

Three of such petitions initiated by a family member of the deceased, Timi Oromoni, a Lagos-based NGO, The IREDE Foundation and one Yetunde Raji, were addressed to the governor and government of Lagos State, Inspector General of Police, as well as the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.

The four others initiated by Children and Young People Living for Peace (CYPLP), Damilola Ogundairo, Williams Grace and Freeborn Abraye were addressed to the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Assembly and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In the petition started by the deceased’s relative and signed by 83,887 persons as of 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sylvester was said to have been killed “in the most gruesome of manner, beaten by Senior 5 boys in his hostel in Dowen College Lekki Lagos State.”

The petition added that the torture and beatings led to unimaginable injuries while “the school authorities, without proper duty of care, took his agony at face value and claimed he had a fall playing soccer.”

“Sign and help us find justice for Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. It’s our fight, he could be your son, your brother, your cousin. #justiceforsylvester,” the petitioner stated while noting that the Senior 5 students are from influential families and the school is trying to bury the case.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State police command will meet for the first time today with the four students of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos allegedly mentioned in the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni.

The four students were those the late student claimed beat him in a bid to coerce him into cultism, an allegation which the school had dismissed as untrue.

The police meeting will serve as official commencement of investigations to unravel the circumstances leading to the death of the boy.

Sources who made this disclosure to the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday said the school had provided the details of the four boys, including home addresses and phone numbers of their parents to the police to aid proper investigation.

Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had in a statement titled ‘Investigation Into The Death Of Sylvester Oromoni Of Dowen College, Lekki, Ongoing,’ signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Adekunle Ajisebutu, assured the family of the deceased and the public that the outcome of police investigation would be made public.

The statement partly read: “While diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize investigation.” 

Meanwhile, the management of Dowen College has expressed its readiness to assist the state Ministry of Education and the police in unraveling the circumstances leading to the death of Sylvester. 

The school, in a statement on Sunday, expressed what it termed deepest sympathies to the bereaved family, describing Sylvester’s death as tragic and unfortunate. 

While praying God to comfort the family and all those who loved and knew him, the school promised to assist the authorities to get to the bottom of the incident. 

The statement further read in part that, “The first steps taken by the school, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, has been the immediate closure of the school to aid in the investigation. 

“Sylvester was dearly loved by his teachers, his fellow students and he was a beacon of light for Dowen College. 

“His death is very painful and irreparable loss to us. But understandably, at this time of intense grief and suffering, emotions are raw and tensions are high. 

“So, we pray that God, who alone knows how to comfort the sorrowing, will comfort Sylvester’s family and all those who loved and knew him. “But we shall certainly assist the authorities in their investigations.” 

Also, a human rights group, Women Arise (WA), on Sun- day insisted that the state government, the Nigeria Police Force and the nation’s judicial system must all live up to expectations and not present the usual disappointment in unravelling the circumstances leading to the premature death of 12-year-old Sylvester. 

President of the group, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, made the call on Sunday in a release titled: “Sylvester Oromoni Jnr on our conscience,” a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lagos, where she noted that the death of the student in his teens raised several questions, adding specifically that the question of justice superseded them all. 

Also, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), speaking through its president, Sunday Asefon, said the principal and the house masters at Dowen College should be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law for their alleged complicity in the death of the student.

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