Now that the autopsy report is out, by Olu Adebayo –
This will be my second speech since the unfortunate death of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr .; the 12-year-old student from Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.
I intervene because I am a parent and actor in the field of education.
It is gratifying that the police have taken bold steps to address the problem despite reluctance. At least some effort has been made.
But now, Sylvester’s parents are not convinced that justice will be served. His father, according to reports, has vowed to continue seeking justice in the case.
Oromoni’s lawyer Femi Falana also rejected the autopsy report, calling it too hasty.
Falana reportedly said authorities were aware that the Lagos State Chief Coroner had ordered an inquest into the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death.
Although aggrieved parties have the right to maintain their position, it is important to clarify that in seeking justice, we do not let emotion take over.
Sometimes it is better to leave the culprits unpunished than to punish the innocent. Insisting that the young boy was murdered without clear medical evidence will not help the cause of justice.
We must ensure that those who do not know anything about Sylvestre’s death are not unduly charged. There are already too many cases of innocent people in detention suffering for what they know nothing about.
Warri and Lagos’ medical reports, police said, confirmed the young man had not been murdered.
If, on the other hand, the young man was murdered and the authorities are manipulated into tampering with the autopsy report, we can only hand them over to God’s tribunal. Nobody can do much. But parents can also continue to seek legal redress.
Cases similar to that of Oromoni Jnr have been ignored. But the good thing about this particular case is that some action would be taken. This is where the Lagos State Police and Government are to be commended.
Lagos State Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu provided an overview of actions taken by authorities so far.
He said five students and three homemakers from Dowen College were released following the autopsy results.
It is instructive to note that three of the five detained students were apparently not there when the young boy was allegedly bullied and poisoned.
Odumosu said all parties to the case, including the deceased’s family, the school administration and witnesses, have been questioned by him.
According to him, âDuring the public interview, it was unanimously agreed that another autopsy should be performed in the presence of pathologists from all parties. The investigation was extended to Delta State and Abuja.
He said the same case was reported to Regional Command in Warri, Delta State, on December 1, 2021.
According to Odumosu’s statement, an autopsy was first performed by a consultant pathologist, Dr Clement Vhriterhire of Warri Central Hospital.
The result attributed the cause of death to “acute lung injury from chemical poisoning in the context of blunt trauma.”
It was after that that a toxicological screening was recommended. Pending the toxicology result, another autopsy was ordered by the Coroner Magistrate of Lagos due to the status of jurisdiction.
The second autopsy, according to Odumosu, was performed at Lagos State University Hospital on December 14, 2021, attended by representatives of all parties involved in the case.
The result, he said, attributed the cause of death to sepsis, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right ankle.
Dr Clement Vhriterhire, the same doctor who performed the first autopsy, attributed the cause of death to “acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis”.
He said that a case of torture, intimidation and forced application of poisonous substances against the suspects could not be established.
He also rejected the claim that the deceased was coerced into joining a sectarian group.
Autopsies of Lagos and Warri confirm that the deceased died of natural causes according to Odumosu.
Dr SS Soyemi, a consultant pathologist who led a team of pathologists to perform the autopsy, said: âOromoni’s death was caused by sepsis following infections of the lungs and kidneys resulting from an autopsy. ankle injury. No evidence of blunt trauma in this body. Results in the esophagus and stomach are not consistent with chemical poisoning. Death, in this case, is natural.
Odumosu said the legal opinion from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions indicated that there were no prima facie cases of murder, manslaughter and / or malicious administration of poison with intent to harm, against students and housekeepers, so they could not be prosecuted. .
The school for its part did everything humanly possible to get to the bottom of things. He took the lead in investigating the young man’s death.
It’s comforting enough that he didn’t show any form of arrogance. Rather, he cooperated with the authorities to get to the bottom of the problem.
The school is expected to have learned some useful lessons from the events of the past two months.
In the future, the school must strengthen its security and put measures in place to prevent future incidents. The number of its security cameras should be increased in every nook and cranny of the school.
The school should also make an effort to perform a medical and moral background check of the type of students it admits.
It’s a new start for Dowen College. This is another phase. This is a phase where all hands must be on the deck. Staff and students must be emboldened and courageous to meet the challenges ahead.
They must learn to appreciate each other. Students, for their part, must avoid any form of temptation to endorse public stereotypes. They have a pedigree. This pedigree has been maintained over the years. They should not allow strange forces to bring them down.
They must understand that they are now like a city on a hill. Any moral infringement on their part will take the head of the media and reference will be made to the events of the last few months. Now is the time to be on their toes and watch out for things that could damage their good reputation.
Sylvester’s parents on the other hand and indeed parents generally have a lot to learn. Given the boy’s critical condition, the parents might have been expected to take him to a nearby hospital in Lagos instead of trekking hundreds of kilometers to Warri.
Sylvester passed away on November 30, 2021. He was withdrawn from school on November 24, 2021. There was a six day period between the time he was withdrawn from school and the time he passed away.
What informed Warri’s trip upon seeing the boy’s critical condition? Did the boy have a health problem that could only be cured by Warri? Did he have a special Warri-based doctor due to his medical history?
The answers to these questions can be like crying over broken milk. But then parents should listen to their wards when they file complaints. Our children should be free to express their views on matters that affect their well-being. It is true that we know what is best for them, but sometimes what is best for them does not really suit them.
We need to be able to determine if our children have the capacity to stay in the hostel. Not all children can bear to be left alone without parental supervision. Some kids are just not cut out for boarding school. While there is nothing wrong with living in a home, we should try to understand the psychology of our children and treat them accordingly.
For some members of the public who are stoking the embers of hatred for Dowen College, it’s time to rest. If the school collapses today, it will not add value to the life of another institution. Many people benefit from the impact of the school. Although it is a fee-based school, many students from needy homes are offered scholarships by the school. We can only encourage the school to do better and to control the management when it is wrong.
Adebayo wrote from No 77 Adeobola Street, Surulere, Lagos