5th January, 2022
Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on Wednesday, reacted to the report issued by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Lagos State, dated 4 January 2022. It purportedly cleared five students and five employees of Dowen College of any complicity in the death of the 12-year old Sylvester Oromoni Jr.
However, Falana argued that the report had not laid the allegations surrounding the gruesome murder of Sylvester Oromoni Jr to rest. The report, as he put it, “is escapist and hasty.” This is because the authorities “are aware of the fact that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State has ordered that an inquest be conducted into the circumstances surrounding the unnatural death of Oromoni.”
The inquest which commenced before the Coroner on 16 December 2021 has been adjourned to 15 January 2022 for further hearing.
Also, Sylvester Oromoni, father of the late student, issued a statement saying he was “appalled” by the DPP’s advice.
Below is his statement:
The Lagos State Government, on Wednesday, said “there is no case against five students and five officials of the school,” alleged to have one thing or the other to do with the death of Oromoni. This is contained in a Legal Advice of the Director of Public Prosecution, Lagos State, Ms Adetutu Oshinusi.
The students who were given clean bills of health were 16-year-old Favour Benjamin, Edward Begue (16), Ansel Temile (14) and Kenneth Inyang (15) and 15-year-old Micheal Kashamu, the son of the late senator, Buruji Kashamu. Also, Celina Uduak, Valentine Igboekweze, Hammed Ayomo Bariyu, Adesanya Olusesan Olusegun and one Adeyemi were the officials exonerated by the government. Kingsley Otuaro, the manager of the school building was also cleared.
According to the advice, “the interim and final autopsy reports issued by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and toxicology report of post mortem samples and that of the Central Hospital, Warri were in agreement as to the cause of death. That is Septicaemia, Lobar Pneumonia with Acute Pyelonephritis, Pyomyositis of the right ankle and Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe Sepsis.”
“The result of the toxicology is also not indicative of any toxic or poisonous substance in the body of the deceased,” it added.
Therefore, according to the DPP, based on these findings, there is “no prima facie case of murder, involuntary manslaughter and or malicious administering of poison with intent to harm against the five students”.
Moreover, the DPP added “from available facts in the duplicate case file, the investigation carried out by the Police did not reveal that any secret society name, tattoo or insignia of any unlawful society was found in the possession of any of the suspects during the investigation carried out by the Police.
“To hold otherwise would amount to sniffing for an offence and a speculative act which is not permitted in law. It is trite law that suspicion no matter how grave cannot be a ground for conviction.”
Below is the DPP’s statement: