- The commissioner of police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, has spoken on why the suspects in the Sylvester Oromoni were released
- Odumosu said the suspects cannot be prosecuted based on available evidence, adding that the deceased student died a natural death
- The police boss also told those not satisfied with the results of the police investigations to approach court to seek redress instead of taking the law into their own hands
Lagos state - Hakeem Odumosu, the commissioner of police in Lagos, has said Sylvester Oromoni (jnr) died a “natural death”.
Recall that Sylvester, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College Lagos, died in November 2021 after he was allegedly beaten by five colleagues.
His father claimed that he was beaten and fed a liquid chemical that eventually led to his death.
However, Dowen College dismissed the allegation, saying that the boy sustained injuries while playing football with colleagues.
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Police order investigation
The Lagos police CP Odumosu had ordered a probe into the case while the school was sealed off by the ministry of education.
Two autopsies were conducted on the deceased, one by the Delta police and the second by the force’s Lagos command.
According to a report by The Cable, the first autopsy revealed that the deceased died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication”.
After the probe, Odumosu said findings had been forwarded to the state’s department of public prosecution (DPP).
A Lagos magistrate court then granted bail to the five students charged with the alleged murder of the dead boy.
The police also released a housemaster and other staff of the school, saying the court order to detain them elapsed.
In the DPP’s advice released to the press, it was stated that the police investigation and the two autopsies conducted on the body of the deceased student failed to establish a prima facie case against the suspects.
The development led to outrage on social media as many allege that the authorities are covering up the circumstances surrounding Oromoni’s death.
Odumosu reacts to allegations of coverup
Responding to claims that the police and state forces were covering up the circumstances surrounding Oromoni’s death, Odumosu attributed the deceased’s passing to a chain of infections that started with an ankle injury.
In a press conference on Friday, January 7, he said the death was caused by septicaemia following infections of the lungs and kidneys arising from the ankle wound.
Odumosu said an examination of his stomach contents showed Oromoni died naturally, not by chemical intoxication.
“Findings at the second autopsy include marked pallor of organs, pneumonia, infections of the liver and kidneys as well as the heart. These infections emanated from the ankle infection described earlier in the report.
“Microscopic sections also confirmed these findings. Death was caused by Septicaemia following infections of the lungs and kidneys arising from the ankle wound. No evidence of blunt force trauma in this body.
“The findings in the oesophagus and stomach are not compatible with chemical intoxication. Death, in this case, is natural.”
Housemasters, students can't be prosecuted based on available evidence - Odumosu
Odumosu said neither the housemasters of the school nor the students can be prosecuted based on the evidence.
“Legal advice, however, indicated that ‘there is no prima facie case of murder, involuntary manslaughter and or malicious administering of poison with intent to harm’ against the students and the House Masters.
“Hence, they cannot be prosecuted. Hence they were all released on bail. The final result of the autopsy and DPP advice were officially released by the State government earlier in the week.”
Also speaking on the protest organised by the Ijaw Youth Council in front of Dowen College in response to the DPP’s verdict, the CP said the police would not fold their hands and watch a breakdown of law and order play out in Lagos.
There is God - Late Sylvester Oromoni's parents break silence on release of Dowen College students, staff
“The protesters who conducted themselves in a manner capable of causing a breach of peace caused a temporary traffic jam. But for the professional way the police managed the protest, it would have led to violence,
“We commiserate with the bereaved family on the death of their promising child.
“It is advised that the protesters and other individuals or groups who are still aggrieved should go to the law court to seek redress instead of taking the law into their own hands.
“Thus, members of the public who may have any misgivings about the outcome of the police investigation, medical enquiry and legal advice with this case are advised to follow due process in law rather than resorting to self-help."
Lagos govt replaces justice ministry official who absolved Dowen College staff, students
Meanwhile, the Lagos state's Ministry of Justice has moved the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Adetutu Oshinusi to another department; the directorate of citizens rights.
Oshinusi was allegedly moved due to the growing backlash that greeted the exoneration of the staff and five students of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, who were arrested and questioned over the death of Sylvester
Oshinusi had in her recommendation to the police on the matter on Tuesday, January 4 called for the release of the Dowen staff and students suspected to have a hand in circumstances leading to the death of Oromoni.