Coroner’s Inquest: Father Alleges Massive Cover Up In Sylvester Oromoni’s Death
Father of late Dowen College Student, Sylvester Oromoni (Snr) has testified at the coroner’s inquest about the circumstances surrounding his son’s controversial death, alleging a massive cover-up.
Oromoni made the allegation on Tuesday while answering questions under cross-examination from the counsel to the Lagos State Government, Mr Akin George, in the investigations to unravel the cause of death.
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The lawyer asked;
We have seen a lot of videos on social media and you said eloquently that there is a massive cover-up in this case. Who are those who cover-up, when and how?.
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In response, Oromoni said;
There is a massive cover-up and it is clearly stated in the police report. A Magistrates’ Court in Yaba remanded five students of Dowen College for 21 days but after 14 days, the boys were granted bail when the police were not done with their investigations.
When I saw the (former) Commissioner of Police (Hakeem Odumosu), he told me that it was not true the court granted them bail as the police was not done with their investigation.
He said that on the day they released those boys, the courts were not even sitting. I then called the Deputy Commissioner of Police. He told me the same thing and told me to give him some time.
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Oromoni further testified that when Odumosu called him back, he confirmed that the boys had been released by the court. But he said it came as a surprise to him because they were given 21 days for their investigations and the boys spent just 14 days in detention.
They (police) said they were going to write a protest letter. They were already interrogating two of the students so they were taken by surprise,.
The same Commissioner of Police, after some days now publicly said that at the instance of Mr Governor, the Attorney-General and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) that there was nothing wrong with the boys, therefore, they’ve released them.
The counsel then asked him if he knows the processes involved in the administration of justice regarding children. Oromoni replied in the negative.
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The witness was also asked questions about the several videos of the late Sylvester which have been made public and which showed the pains he suffered.
When asked why there was no video made of the boy’s dying declaration detailing the names of the students he alleged beat him and forced him to drink a substance, Oromoni said the videos in the public were not made in anticipation of his death but that the deceased’s mother made it to show what the boy went through and ultimately to give testimony and thanksgiving in church.
When the videos were played in court, Oromoni broke down in tears and the coroner,Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri had to stand down proceedings at two different times to enable him to regain his composure to continue his testimony.
Most of the videos have been admitted as evidence before the court.
Under cross-examination from Godwin Omoaka (SAN), counsel to one of the suspected Dowen Students, Oromoni also testified that he was not present when his son disclosed that he was given a substance to drink.
The lawyer asked;
You do not know as a matter of fact, if he actually told Peter Odewo-Oritse (the second witness) that he was beaten and given a poisonous substance.
I believe the story. I know that Peter doesn’t lie. The school has more than 500 people. The boy mentioned just these people. Peter wasn’t the only one he told. He also told my wife.
Meanwhile, the coroner has condemned some social media reports of the proceedings. He encouraged the media to be accurate in its reportage and reiterated his determination to unravel what actually transpired in the case.
He also indicated that the court would call as witnesses, the late Sylvester’s roommates, the Dowen College school nurse who attended to him, the students who allegedly played football with the deceased, the investigative police officers, the pathologist in Warri, Dr. Clement Vhriterhire and a Lagos based consultant pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa to assist the court in its fact-finding.