Sylvester Oromoni, the father of the late 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, has restated the family’s commitment to getting justice, saying that he would not bury his son even if it takes 30 years to get justice.
He also kicked against the report of the autopsy carried out at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, alleging that there was foul play.
Sylvester’s death went viral following a social media post by his cousin, Perry Oromoni, who alleged that some senior pupils of the school beat him up in his hostel because he refused to join a cult.
The school denied the claim, stating that the boy complained of leg pains following an injury he sustained while playing football.
The state government ordered the indefinite closure of the school pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter.
Five students and five employees of the school were arrested by the police but legal advice by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Adetutu Oshinusi, cleared the suspects.
The autopsy carried out by a consultant pathologist at the Central Hospital Warri, Clement Vhriterhire, revealed that Sylvester died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma.”
But the interim and final autopsy report by LASUTH attributed the cause of death to “Septicaemia, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right ankle.”
However, the outgoing Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu, on Friday said the toxicology report of the first autopsy carried out in Warri was released on December 30, 2021, signed by Vhriterhire, attributing the cause of death to “acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.”
Sylvester Snr and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, had kicked against the DPP’s advice with the latter describing the report as “escapist and hasty.”
Falana had said, “The report has not laid to rest the allegations surrounding the gruesome murder of Sylvester Oromoni. The report is escapist and hasty as the authorities are aware of the fact that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State has ordered that an inquest be conducted into the circumstances surrounding the unnatural death of Sylvester Oromoni. The inquest, which commenced before the coroner on December 16, 2021, has been adjourned till January 15, 2022, for further hearing.”
Speaking to our correspondent on Friday the father said the case had yet to have closure, insisting that his son would not be buried until “justice is served” even if it took as long as 30 years.
He said, “The family does not have power. We only rely on God. If they insist that the school will reopen, there is no problem. If God keeps me for 20 or 30 years, I will follow up on this case. The government will come, the government will go. I am not bothered. The soul of that boy is crying round. God is alive; He cannot be bribed.
“My son will never be buried. If it takes me 30 years to get justice, he would remain there (in the mortuary). He is my son; I won’t bury him. Nigerians should look beyond what they are saying.”
Asked if he had any doubt over the autopsy released by the state government, he retorted “Do they have an autopsy report? They don’t have any. The doctor that did the autopsy in Delta State was recommended by the Area Commander. He is not the family doctor. We don’t know him. Our lawyer applied to the Area Command to get a copy of the autopsy.”
But Odumosu, during a press briefing held at the police headquarters in Ikeja on Friday and tagged ‘Sylvester Oromoni Jnr: Update on Investigation,’ dismissed any foul play.
He said eight persons–five pupils and three housemasters – were arrested following a petition to the police on the matter, adding that on December 9, 2021, he interviewed the late pupil’s family, the school management, and witnesses at the command’s headquarters.
He said, “During the open interview, it was unanimously agreed that another autopsy should be carried out where pathologists from all parties would be present. The investigation was extended to Delta State and Abuja. I will like to state here that the investigation revealed that the same case was reported at the Area Command Warri, Delta State, on December 1, 2021.
“It has also been established that a post mortem examination was initially carried out on December 2, 2021, by a Consultant Pathologist, Dr. Clement Vhriterhire of the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State. The result of the first autopsy dated December 10, 2021, attributed the cause of death to ‘acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma.’
“However, toxicology screening was recommended and also carried out. While waiting for the result of the toxicology, another autopsy was ordered by the Coroner Magistrate in Lagos because of the status of jurisdiction.
The corpse was, therefore, moved with armed police escorts from Delta State to Lagos State by TOS Funeral and the autopsy was conducted at the expense of the Lagos State Government.
The second autopsy was carried out at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on December 14, 2021, in the presence of representatives of all the parties involved in the case.”
The CP said the second autopsy was carried out by the Consultant Pathologist and Chief Examiner, Department of Pathology and Forensic Sciences, LASUTH, Dr. S.S Soyemi, witnessed by representatives of all the parties, including Vhriterhire, as well as police officers, among other principal officials.
Odumosu said the final results of the post mortem and toxicology examination conducted at Delta and Lagos states agreed that the deceased died a natural death.
He stated, “Before the expiration of the 21 days remand order, the families of the students applied for their bail at the Magistrates’ Court 1 Yaba.
The application was approved hence the students who were earlier remanded at Boys Home, Oregun, were granted bail. The housemasters were also granted bail after the expiration of the 21 days remand order.
“The result of the second autopsy carried out in Lagos was released on December 21, 2021. The result attributed the cause of death to ‘Septicaemia, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right ankle.’ On December 30, 2021, the toxicology screening results of the first autopsy carried out in Warri were released.
The result issued and signed by Dr. Clement Vhriterhire, the same doctor who carried out the initial autopsy, attributed the cause of death to ‘acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.’
“At the end of diligent investigation carried out so far, there is no evidence to establish a case of torture, bullying, and forceful application of poisonous substance against the suspects.
All the suspects denied the allegations of torture, bullying, and administering poisonous substances to the deceased.
The allegation that the deceased was being forced to join a cult group was also not established as other students interviewed denied this.”