Mr Sylvester Oromoni Snr., father of the late Dowen College student, Sylvester Oromoni has made allegations of a cover-up between the Nigerian Police Force and Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over the circumstances surrounding his son’s death.
Oromoni Snr. made the allegations on Tuesday at an Ikeja Coroner’s Court, while being cross-examined by Mr Akin George, Counsel to Lagos State Government.
Oromomi Snr. raised questions about why the five senior students of Dowen College, who allegedly bullied his son, Sylvester Oromoni were exonerated and released by the DPP’s advice 14 days into the 21-day remand order given by a Yaba Magistrates’ Court.
He noted that the Magistrate Court had given the 21-day remand order to give the police time to carry out investigations into the matter.
The witness, who was very emotional and often breaking down in tears during his testimony, questioned the timing of the release of the five students by the DPP.
Oromomi Snr. said: “There is a massive cover-up and it is clearly here (in the police report).
”A Magistrates’ Court in Yaba requested 21days and after the 14 day, the boys were granted bail when the police were not done with their investigations.
“When I saw the Lagos State Commissioner of Police (Hakeem Odumosu) and told him about it, he told me that, that was not true that they were not done with their investigations on Sylvester Oromoni death.
“He even said that on the day it was said that they had released those boys, the courts were not sitting.
”I then called the Deputy Commissioner of Police, he told me the same thing and told me to give him sometime.
“After about two to four minutes, he called me back and he confirmed it, that they were given 21days for their investigations and the boys had just spent 14 days in detention.
“They (police) said they were going to write a protest letter. They were already interrogating two of the students and revelations were coming out so they were taken by surprise.
“The same Commissioner of Police, after some days now publicly declared that at the instance of Mr Governor, the Attorney-General and the DPP, said there was nothing wrong with the boys therefore they’ve released them.”
Oromoni Snr said that Odumosu had addressed the public during the 2021 Christmas public holidays and that there were only three working days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) that week.
“At what point did they complete their investigation, give all the case files to the DPP to go through and the DPP to come up with their report?
“This is why I am saying there is a very massive conspiracy going on,” he said.
Earlier during proceedings, George said that, according to the Police reports, the eyewitnesses at the school denied that Oromoni Jnr was beaten in his room.
Reading an excerpt of the report, he said: “Furthermore, the allegation of putting off the light, bullying and beating him could not be proven as eyewitnesses denied that such incident ever happened.”
The five students of Dowen College were remanded in a juvenile home after they were charged with conspiracy and homicide over the death of their 12-year-old schoolmate by Chief Magistrate Olatunbosun Adeola, on Dec. 9, 2021.
On Dec. 21, 2021, Adeola granted the Dowen College students bail in the sum of N1 million with two sureties in like sum.
The Lagos State DPP advice released on Jan. 4, disputed the allegations that Oromoni’s death was caused by injuries resulting from bullying.
The DPP advice noted that an autopsy revealed Oromoni’s cause of death as acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.
Coroner to subpoena more witnesses
Meanwhile, the Ikeja Coroner’s Court has said it will subpoena more witnesses in the quest to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr.
The Coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri, made the disclosure at the conclusion of proceedings on Tuesday, noting that the inquest is a fact-finding exercise and a lot of questions would need to be answered.
The witnesses to be summoned by the coroner include roommates of the late student at Dowen College, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) of the case in Warri, Delta, and a Dowen College nurse that attended to the late student.
Other witnesses to be subpoenaed include a family friend of the Oromonis, Chief Opudu Boro, two independent pathologists which will include a Forensic Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa.
The coroner will also invite the medical doctor who performed the first autopsy on the late student in Warri, Dr Clement Vhriterhire, and students who allegedly played football with the deceased in school during which he sustained an ankle injury.
It was alleged that the student died on Nov. 30, 2021, from injuries he sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for refusing to join a cult.
It was also alleged that he was forced to drink an obnoxious substance by his attackers.
Advice by Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions, which was released on Jan. 4, however, disputed the allegations.
It stated that an autopsy revealed Oromoni’s cause of death as acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.
Kadiri adjourned proceedings until Feb. 21 for the continuation of hearing.