The Lagos State Government has cleared the five students and six staff members of Dowen College linked to the death of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, a 12-year-old student of the college, who have been exonerated by the Lagos State Government.
The clearance, contained in a Legal Advice of Ms Adetutu Oshinusi, the State’s Director of Public Prosecution, Lagos State, was coming just as the Sylvester Oromoni family described as lies a statement attributed to Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos Commissioner of Police, implying that the first autopsy on the deceased boy, conducted in Delta State was not witnessed by the police.
The students cleared by the state government are Favour Benjamin (16 years), Edward Begue (16), Ansel Temile (14) and Kenneth Inyang (15) and Micheal Kashamu (15).
Officials cleared Celina Uduak, Valentine Igboekweze, Hammed Ayomo Bariyu, Adesanya Olusesan Olusegun, Kingsley Otuaro, the manager of the school building and one Adeyemi.
The legal advice addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, and the trial magistrate, Magistrate Olatunbosun Adeola directed that all the suspects should be released if they are still in custody.
The advice stated that 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 namely: 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.
The DPP’s legal advice, therefore, concluded that 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”.
“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,” the advice said.
Earlier, before the release of the advice, Sylvester, the father of the deceased, in an interview with The Cable, denied that only the family witnessed the first post mortem done on his son in Warri, Delta State.
“It’s not possible. The first autopsy was conducted by the police too. There’s a police area command stamp on it. Our family doesn’t have a pathologist,” the bereaved said in a phone conversation.
“It was the police that carried out a coroner’s inquest and called on the pathologist to do the autopsy. We didn’t even have a copy as of when the autopsy results came out. They sent it to the Lagos police first.
“After three days, I asked that the family gets a copy. We were told to apply through our lawyer before the assistant CP gave us a copy. That was why he stamped all the pages. Who on earth will say it’s not authentic?
“It wasn’t the family that did it. The Delta police did. The family relied on it since he came to our home in Warri.”
In the viral report, Odumosu was quoted as citing the alleged lack of police presence as the reason he, alongside the Alkali Usman Baba, inspector-general of police, resolved to have a second post mortem carried out in Lagos.
Sylvester (Jnr), a student of Dowen College Lagos, died on November 30, 2020, after he was alleged to have been attacked by five of his senior colleagues for refusing to join a cult. His father alleged that he was beaten and fed a liquid chemical that eventually led to his death.
But Dowen College dismissed the claim, saying the boy sustained injuries while playing football with his colleagues.
Two autopsies were conducted on the deceased, one in Delta State and the second by the Lagos State Police Command.
The first autopsy, as reported, established that Sylvester Oromoni Jnr died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication.”
The post mortem listed an investigating police officer (IPO) named Tije Augustine among its witnesses.
But a report dated January 2 quoted Odumosu as saying that the Delta autopsy was not witnessed by the police.
Sylvester Oromoni Snr has vowed not to bury his deceased boy until justice is served, no matter how long the case takes.