One year after the death of Sylvester Oromoni Junior, a deceased student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos state, who died under questionable circumstances on November 30, 2021, his family is still calling for justice in the case.
According to reports, bullying, violence, carelessness, and the introduction of a poison in the school all contributed to Oromoni’s death. The Lagos State Government ordered a coroner inquest to determine the cause of death, which began on January 21, 2022 at the Magistrate Court, Epe (now Magistrate Court 20, Ogba), but has not yet been completed.
Mr. Sylvester Oromoni, the father of the deceased student, stated in a signed statement made available to journalists in Warri, Delta State, on Tuesday that he would be forced to leave the inquest if it wasn’t over by the end of the year “in order to take a different legal step to seek justice.”
He expressed concern that the coroner’s investigation on the Ikoyi building collapse of 2021, which resulted in the deaths of 52 people, did not take such a long period.
He noted that the inquest into the death of Miss Jumoke Oyeleke at the Ojota Yoruba rally has been completed since.
The statement read partly, “As the father of the deceased, I cannot be tired or discouraged from pursuing justice as I have promised my son to get him justice even if it will take thirty years to achieve it.
“Today, November 30, 2022 makes it a year since the demise of my son and the body is still in the morgue, yet to be buried. This one-year memorial being held today is to tell Nigerians and the entire world about the current position of the inquest and the antics of Dowen College.
“I am equally aware that some civil society organisations and NGOs in Abuja and Lagos are equally observing the one-year memorial today to mark his one-year untimely demise.
“May the soul of Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr.) and all departed souls rest in perfect peace. Amen.
“At this point, I wish to call on the Honourable Coroner to please do the needful by urgently bringing the inquest to an end as Nigerians and the entire world are waiting for the dispensation of justice in this case as justice delayed, is justice denied.
“This struggle is not only about my late son, but my own way of preventing the future occurrence of this tragic incident.
“In the same vein, we equally urge the Lagos State Government, as a matter of urgency to charge Dowen College and all the staff who had earlier been recommended for prosecution in the DPP Advice of 30th day of December, 2021 to court.
“Already, Dowen College has since the commencement of this Coroner put a lot of things in order in the school premises which were not available at the material time.
“You may wish to know that the installation of CCTV cameras and a football pitch have been provided as against the former concrete basketball court which was being used.
“I must state categorically that if this inquest is not concluded before the end of this year, I shall be compelled to withdraw from it in order to take a different legal step to seek justice.”
It was gathered that Dowen College and some of its staff were indicted and recommended for prosecution under Section 252 of the Criminal Law (C17) Vol. 3 Laws of Lagos State 2015 in the legal advice previously issued by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice, Lagos State.
Despite the advise, it appears that these defendants are apparently moving around freely, while the deceased person’s body is still being kept in the morgue.
The coroner then adjourned the case to November 21, 2022 so Dowen College could present the two remaining witnesses from the school. This was accomplished through the efforts of the Honourable Coroner and the cooperation of several parents, particularly the parents of the two witnesses who traveled from Abuja to testify on November 14, 2022.
The school reportedly declined to make these two witnesses, who were enrolled in Dowen College on the aforementioned November 21, 2022, available so they could provide a statement to the coroner. The inquest was further postponed as a result to November 28, 2022. Unfortunately, the coroner was unable to convene on this particular date due to the absence of these crucial Dowen College witnesses.