By Arogbonlo Israel
The father of Sylvester Oromoni, the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lagos, who died from injuries he allegedly sustained from a beating by his fellow students, who wanted him to join their secret cult group, have said his son lived in fear.
A Twitter user, who claimed to be the cousin of the deceased, had on Wednesday called out the school on the micro-blogging platform.
Ever since, #JusticeForSylvester had been trending on social media, with claims that effort were on to “kill” the incident.
Reacting, the management of Dowen College claimed the report of bullying is “social media tales”.
Their statement read in part: “It came as no small shock to us to read wild social media tales that he was beaten by some students and that he specifically mentioned some names.
“We immediately commenced investigations and invited the students allegedly mentioned for interview.
“His guardian was also present during the interviews, which revealed that nothing of such happened.
“The whole incident was strange and unbelievable because: The school has effective anti-bullying policies and consequences are well spelled out to all the students.
“The preliminary investigation showed that there was no fighting, bullying, or any form of attack on the boy.
“He made no such reports, neither to his sister who is also a student or any other students, prefects, house parents, medical staff, or any of the management staff.
“The school has two regular nurses and a qualified medical doctor that promptly attends to students’ medical needs.
“The resident doctor followed the laid down procedure by inviting his mother to take him home for further treatment after initial treatment by the school’s medical staff.”
He lived in fear — Father
However, late Sylvester’s father, who spoke to The Cable, insisted his son was allegedly bullied, which led to his death.
According to him, “The boys (suspects) they mentioned were also reported to the school last term when they bullied Junior (Sylvester) and collected all his foodstuffs and clothes.
“I have two daughters; one of whom earlier graduated. I had to remove the second after this incident. They asked this boy to describe the sister’s privates and this got to us.
“They put fear in him so much so that, when you ask him, he might keep to himself and say, ‘they will kill me’.
“This way, we didn’t know what to do. I considered removing him; reconsidered since his sisters were still in the school.
“The new incident came to my knowledge on November 21 after the school called my wife to notify us that our son was in the school clinic, injured.
“My senior son, who was to make a London trip, came to see us in Warri.
“The next day, we sent a family friend to help pick up our son since he was the only person in Lagos and take him to the hospital.
“When he got there, he panicked, pointing out that he doubts it’s a football injury as the school claimed. He said the boy couldn’t stand because his waist was bent and swollen along with one side of his belly.
“His mouth was black. I asked, ‘is this really a football injury?’ He was taken to my house in Lagos but couldn’t sleep at night.
“I asked my eldest to fly to Lagos on November 24, while I took a trip to Asaba, from where I’d also make for Lagos.
“On getting there, he screamed. ‘This is beyond football injury. Come to Lagos now,’ he told me over the phone.”