Falana takes over Dowen pupil’s murder case

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  • Family seeks coroner’s inquest
  • Sanwo-Olu’s wife: boy’s death a slap on the state

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, said yesterday that he had been briefed by the family of Sylvester Omoroni Jr, the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, who died last Tuesday of injuries received from suspected cultists and bullies in the school.

The family, headed by Sylvester Omoroni Jr, has sought a coroner’s inquest into their son’s death.The family made the request through Falana ìn a letter dated December 6, 2021 sent to the Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Justice Mojisola Dada.

The letter signed by Taiwo Olawanle, of Falana’s law firm, said, “We are a firm of legal practitioners committed to the defence of human rights, rule of law and public accountability in Nigeria. We have been briefed by the family of the late Sylvester Oromoni…who died from injuries he allegedly sustained from the beating by his colleagues that wanted him to join their secret cult group.

“Given the needless death of Sylvester Oromoni, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to cause a coroner’s inquest to be conducted into the cause of death of this young and promising boy and make appropriate recommendations pursuant to Section 15 of the Lagos State Coroner’s Law 2007, which provides that an inquest shall hold whenever a coroner is informed that the death of a deceased person within his Coroner District is as a result of a death in a violent, unnatural or suspicious situation.”

Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, described the boy’s death as ‘heartbreaking and a slap on the state’.Mrs. Sanwo-Olu spoke yesterday during an advocacy visit to schools in furtherance of the ongoing 16 Days of activism against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).She visited Dolphin Senior High School and Dolphin Junior High School, Tapa, Lagos Island; Aje Comprehensive Junior High School and Aje Comprehensive Senior High School, Sabo-Yaba.

She said: “The world is commemorating the 16 days of activism against SGBV, starting November 25 through December 10 which is Human Rights Day. The programme is championed globally by the United Nations (UN), and the theme for this year is ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now’.“The advocacy is also being championed by the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum, NGOs and many other private individuals and organisations to sustain the zero tolerance for gender-based violence in Nigeria, and Lagos in particular.

We decided that our advocacy is to do community sensitisation at the grassroots, which we did on November 29. We then followed it up with sensitisation visits to religious leaders in our communities. Schools visit is the third stage of our advocacy campaigns.“It is good to catch them young so the seed will gradually germinate, help our pupils to have the correct mindset, understand why these vices exist and what the law says about them.”

She also donated laptops, industrial cooking gas, and other educational materials to each school, promising that more schools and other critical organisations would be visited.Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Cecilia Dada, said victims can call “the essential violence response team on 08000333333 for help.Ijaw Women Connect (IWC), a socio-cultural group, in Yenagoa, condemned “in totality and in strong terms the gruesome killing of Oromoni Jnr.In a statement by its President, Mrs Rosemary John-Oduone, and spokesperson, Mrs Izuogere Iwolo, IWC urged security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.

We, as Ijaw mothers whose sister and brother lost a very promising and bright child, will not watch Sylvester Oromoni Jnr die while those responsible for his early passage go scot-free.The group noted that the public was aware of alleged plot by parents of the five boys involved in beating Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) to death, to sneak the suspects out of Nigeria to evade justice..Interpol should repatriate suspects relocated abroadA Human rights organisation, the Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) urged the police to use Interpol to bring back all suspects in the torture and death of Omoroni Jnr, who may have relocated abroad.

Executive Director of CRIVIFON, Mrs Gloria Egbuji, gave the advice following intelligence report that some parents whose children were involved in the incident may have relocated them abroad.In a statement by CRIVIFON yesterday, Mrs Egbuji said the circumstances leading to the death of Oromoni as narrated by his father on Arise Television News interview, were quite condemnable, given the status of the college.

If Dowen College authorities had been mindful of the fact that as an Ivy league school where huge sums of money is paid as fees, they should have shown more commitment in the welfare and safety of their students,” the statement said.Mrs Egbuji wondered why the management of the College could not take a proactive interest in handling the initial concerns raised about Sylvester’s safety by his elder sister Amanda Oromoni who is also a student of the college.

“In light of the inexplicable circumstances that surround the death of the student and the alleged report that some of those fingered in bullying and torturing him have already been relocated overseas by their parents, CRIVIFON would want the police authorities…to bring to justice anyone directly or remotely connected to the gruesome incident.“If it is discovered that anyone of them has relocated to anywhere, the parents should be held responsible to produce such students to face prosecution. If they have relocated outside Nigeria, Interpol can be used to bring them back to the country in light of the grievousness of the offence,” it said.

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