The family of the deceased JSS II student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos state, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, who died as a result of torture meted out to him by some senior students, have cried out over continued delay by the Coroner Inquest ordered by the Lagos state government into the incident a year after, saying they mayvbe forced into an alternative legal action to seek justice.
The late student died on November 30, 2021 after battling for a few weeks to survive the internal injuries sustained and the poisonous black substance he was forced to drink during the torture. Wednesday, November 30, 2022, completed the one year circle.
Making his decision to abandon the Coroner Inquest known in a statement titled; “Late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr; No Justice For The Deceased and Family One Year After”, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Warri, today, the deceased father, Sylvester Oromoni, had issued the Panel a 30-Day ultimatum to make its report public to enable him move on with his next line of action.
The statement read in part: “Upon the death of Late Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) on the 30th of November, 2021, a former student of Dowen College, Lekki Lagos State as a result of bullying, assault, negligence and administration of poisonous substance while in the school, a Coroner Inquest was ordered by the Lagos State Government to unravel the cause of death which commenced on the 21st day of January, 2022 at the Magistrate Court, Epe (now Magistrate Court 20, Ogba), and is yet to be concluded”.
“The legal advice earlier issued by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice, Lagos State indicted Dowen College and some of its staff and recommended them for prosecution under Section 252 of the Criminal Law (C17) Vol. 3 Laws of Lagos State 2015. Notwithstanding this advice, these individuals indicted are still walking freely while the body of the deceased continues to lie in the morgue”.
“With the effort of the Honourable Coroner and the cooperation of several parents particularly the parents of the two witnesses who came from Abuja to testify on the 14th November, 2022, the Coroner thereafter adjourned proceedings to 21st November 2022 for Dowen College to produce the two remaining witnesses from the school”.
“However, due to the College’s antics and strategy, the school refused to provide these two witnesses who are currently in Dowen College on the said 21st November, 2022 to enable them to testify before the Coroner. As a result of that, the Inquest was further adjourned to 28th November, 2022”.
“Unfortunately, the Coroner could not also sit on this date because of the unavailability of these vital witnesses from Dowen College. At this juncture, let it be known that the Coroner Inquest of the Ikoyi building collapse of 2021 where 52 persons died did not take this protracted time as well the Ojota Yoruba rally where one Miss Jumoke Oyeleke died had since concluded their Inquest”.
“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 (30) years to achieve it”.
“Today, the 30th of November 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 organizations 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 delay 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”.