THE Lagos State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Bureau, SCIIB, Panti, Yaba, yesterday, invited four more students of Dowen College for questioning over their involvement in the death of Sylvester Oromoni, the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, allegedly beaten to death by some of his mates.
Vanguard gathered that the Police obtained a court order to detain the arrested suspects pending when investigations into the matter is concluded.
Similarly, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu affirmed that three students of the College are currently assisting the police in their investigation.
Oromoni, Jnr died of complications last week as a result of injuries sustained from an attack by a group of five senior colleagues for allegedly refusing to join a cult group in the school.
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, called on the Inspector-General of Police to take over the investigation into the death of Dowen College Student, Sylvester Oromoni and place the suspects on the no-fly list.
This came as the Chief Coroner has fixed December 15 for a meeting on the inquest into the death of Sylvester Oromoni.
Similarly, the parents of students in the school held a virtual meeting during which some demands were made and the decision to hold a candlelight procession was taken.
4 more students interrogated
Vanguard reliably gathered the four students were invited to the SCIIB, Panti for questioning over their involvement in Sylvester’s death.
Recall that three students of the college were interrogated on Monday by the Police over Sylvester’s death making the total number seven.
The students, who were interrogated at the SCIIB, Vanguard gathered, were accompanied to the police station by their parents and lawyers.
A Police source told Vanguard that the Police sought a Magistrate Court 1 in Yaba order to further detain the suspects pending further investigations.
Vanguard was informed that the suspects were taken to the Command Headquarters in Ikeja where they were interrogated by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu after which, they were taken to Court 1, Yaba where the court order to detain them was granted.
With the court order, Vanguard learned that as soon as the investigation is concluded, the suspects will be taken to the Juvenile Department for the next line of action.
Though it was difficult to get a hint of the true identities of the suspects and their statements, Police sources said they are were at the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Bureau SCIIB, Panti, Yaba, where they are currently under intense interrogation.
Police sources also disclosed to Vanguard that the seven suspects shockingly made similar statements denying their culpability in the offence.
A source, who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, said: “It was as if they were all lectured to make the same statement over the unfortunate incident.
“This is because of the glaring similarity in their choice of words and denial which they stated in their statement. Infact, sources said that they were saying that the victim fell sick and the school authorities called the parents in Warri after which they sent one of their cousins to pick him in school.
“Then, the cousin was said to have taken Sylvester to Ibadan only to call the school authorities a few days later to claim that his condition was deteriorating and was taking him to Warri where the parents reside.
“This, sources stated, fuelled claims by the suspects in their statements to the Police that the victims may have died of an unknown sickness.”
How the victim died — Sources
But more revelations have emerged about how Sylvester died in Warri, Delta State.
It was gathered that Sylvester fell ill while in school and the school management called his father’s attention to this.
The father, it was gathered, was said to be in Warri but he quickly sent his cousin to the school to check on the boy and furnish him with details.
On arrival at the school, the cousin was said to have taken the boy to Ibadan for medical attention.
Investigations revealed that while in Ibadan, the boy’s condition worsened, a situation that made the cousin transfer him to Warri for further medical attention.
3 students currently in police custody – Lagos CP
Confirming the arrest of three suspected students, the Lagos CP did not give the identities of those in custody, insisting that they are key suspects.
The police boss explained that the Command is set to go for the post mortem of the body in Delta State to ascertain the cause of death.
He assured that police authorities in Lagos and Delta states are keenly interested in the outcome of the investigation to unravel the mystery behind Sylvester’s death.
Reps want suspected students placed on no-fly list
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, yesterday, mandated the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba to ensure that justice was duly served in the death of Sylvester asking him to assume the investigation and prosecution.
The lawmakers also demanded the placement of the five students allegedly involved in the matter on no-fly list.
The resolutions followed the consideration of a motion presented by Mr. Unyime Idem at the plenary.
Presenting the motion, Idem said: “Why there’s no way to make a broad conclusion as to whether boarding schools are good or bad, some recent development in Nigeria have triggered public outcry as many share their experiences, notes that the social media has been agog in the past few days following the report on Sylvester Oromoni, a 12 years old boy who recently passed away on 27th November 2021, while nursing multiple internal injuries alleged to have been sustained after he was beaten by his fellow students, who were bullying him at a boarding school. The parents of the deceased said he was attacked for declining to join what he termed as a secondary school cult group, dominated by older boys in Dowen College Lekki Lagos.
“Another incident leading to the death of 14-year-old Karen Happuch of Premier Academy Lugbe Abuja on June 22 is one that left many heartbroken as parents narrated how she was sexually assaulted and later died as a result of a condom left in her private part, six months later there’s still no news of a suspect being arrested. An analyst who spoke on the trending issue said bullying is a major pandemic in Nigerian schools today. Social organizations have attacked the ministries of women affairs and education over their silence and complacency on the several incidences of killings and abnormal behaviours in our boarding schools across the country.
“These children we are representing are our constituents. I want to also use this opportunity to call on the Ministry of Education to rise to this challenge. They cannot allow private schools to run the way they like. There should be proper guidance on their operations. They should commence proper monitoring of private schools..
In his contribution, Mr. Babajide Obanikoro, who noted that late Sylvester Oromoni was from his constituent, asked that the five students allegedly involved in the matter be placed on a no-fly list, while the school remained shut pending the conclusion of investigations.
Obanikoro said: “There are five students involved and all of them are flight threats, their names should be placed on a no-fly list and that school, as shut by Lagos State government, should remain shut until the school is cleared of all allegations.”
Adopting the motion, the House told its Committees on Education, Youth Development and Women Affairs and Social Development to follow up with the investigation and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.
Parents to hold candlelight procession
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the date was arrived at after consultations with relevant stakeholders.
In an e-signed message, the Parent Forum of the school also consoled the family of the deceased.
The statement, titled: ‘Sylvester Oromoni’s Death: Dowen College Parents Mourn’, was signed by Messrs Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, Waheed Adeoye, Oluwaseun Bolanle Ajila and Kingsley Kema Agu
It reads: “Dowen College Parents are startled and deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident that led to the death of Sylvester Oromoni. Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and pray that God gives them the strength to bear the irreparable loss.
“As parents of Dowen college students, we are still in shock and could not come to terms with this incident and the accounts so far provided by the school, students, and the media.
“We are, however, temporarily relieved by the swiftness with which the authority intervened and commenced investigation towards unravelling the cause of Sylvester Oromoni’s death.
“We urge the school management team and other stakeholders (students and parents directly or indirectly mentioned) to fully cooperate with the authority in the ongoing investigation. While we would have loved to bring Sylvester back if humanly possible, unravelling the cause of Sylvester’s death and bringing whoever was responsible or might have contributed in whatever way to book, will not only bring this unfortunate incident to closure for the family, but this will also serve as a deterrent to others in all schools in Nigeria.
“We, therefore, say justice for Sylvester, is justice for all.
“On our part as parents, we will work more closely with the school (management/board), to ensure necessary measures are put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of this unfortunate incident and stamp out bullying in any form from the school.”
“Dowen college parents need this more as we are currently in a fix and our children are traumatized.
“What happened to Sylvester could have happened to any other child in the school. To many of the traumatized students, Sylvester was a classmate, a roommate, a schoolmate, or a friend.
“We, therefore, earnestly ask for a resolution that will bring some relief to the bereaved family, other parents, students of Dowen College and the public.
“These should include a change of the school management and hostel teachers, installation of CCTV cameras in all strategic places and overhauling of the school security system,” it stated.
Lagos govt keeps mum
Meanwhile, following the arrest of three of the students allegedly mentioned by the late Sylvester, the officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Education has refused to make further comments on the matter.
The Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, said since the police have stepped into the matter, further inquiries should be directed to them.