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Oromoni family moves to review findings of inquest into son’s death

Police: We didn’t get formal report on death of Dowen College student Police: We didn’t get formal report on death of Dowen College student
Sylvester Oromoni

The bereaved Oromoni family has applied to the chief coroner of Lagos to seek a review of the verdict delivered by Mikhail Kadiri, a magistrate, after the inquest into the death of Sylvester, their son.

Sylvester Oromoni died in controversial circumstances at age 12 on November 30, 2021, while he was a student at Dowen College in Lekki, Lagos.

The boy’s parents alleged that he was bullied, beaten up, and fed a chemical substance by five of his male colleagues.

Dowen College dismissed the claim, insisting that the late student sustained injuries while playing football with friends.

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The Oromoni family had countered Dowen College’s claim, arguing that their son had no pre-existing health challenges before the incident.

In January 2022, an initial autopsy by Clement Vhriterhire, consultant pathologist at the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta state, established that Sylvester Oromoni died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma”.

The Lagos Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) conducted a second autopsy which revealed that Oromoni died “naturally” of sepsis.

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The case went to court for two years and Kadiri adjudged that Dowen College, its students, and officials were faultless in the death of Oromoni.

The coroner affirmed that Oromoni died of sepsis emanating from an infection of the lungs and kidney caused by an ankle injury.

Kadiri attributed Oromoni’s death to parental and medical negligence contrary to the claim of bullying or chemical poisoning.

Femi Falana, counsel to the Oromoni family, said the coroner overlooked some “uncontradicted evidence” while giving his verdict.

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The family, in a reaction addressing the state government, accused Kadiri of suppressing evidence in what they termed a “cover-up”.

In a letter sent to the chief coroner of Lagos, as seen by TheCable, the family’s legal representatives sought a review of the verdict.

The application partly reads: “At the preliminary stage of the inquest, our team requested a visit to Dowen College to enable the honourable coroner to ascertain the state of the school before the death of the deceased.

“But to our surprise, the coroner rejected the application. It turned out later that the coroner wanted enough time for the management of Dowen College to fix up the physical deficiencies in the school.

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“The coroner, in his verdict eventually exonerated Dowen College of any liability, showered encomium on them, and applauded their authorities for upgrading the facilities put in place during the proceedings.

“To further exonerate the management and staff of Dowen College of any liability, the coroner engaged in the suppression of material facts of bullying of the deceased. Then the coroner proceeded to blame the cause of death on parental negligence.”

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The lawyers say the request for a review of the judgement aligns with section 44 of the Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State (2007).

This provision states that the chief coroner has the power to review an inquisition if found to be fraught with improprieties.

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