Strayer week 4 modern day policing, society, and the future

INVESTIGATION: Inside details of how Dowen College pupil, Sylvester Oromoni, died

The findings in the second autopsy report seen by PREMIUM TIMES include “marked pallor of organs, pneumonia (infections of the lungs), infections of the liver and kidneys as well as the heart. These infections emanated from the ankle infection”.

by Ibrahim Adeyemi  February 12, 2022 .


in December 2021, a disturbing video of a pre-teen boy writhing in pain was posted online. In the footage, the boy, a pupil of Dowen College, a boarding secondary school in the highbrow Lekki Phase 1 estate in Lagos, seemed to be fighting for his life. A few days later, the boy, named Sylvester Oromoni, same as his father, died a few days to his 12th birthday.


Mr Oromoni, Sylvester’s father, accused five pupils of the school – Aslem Temile (14), Benjamin Favour (16), Michael Kashamu (15), Edward Begue (16) and Kenneth Inyang – of killing his son. He claimed that the pupils bullied his son to death after he refused to join a secret cult. He claimed his son named these pupils moments before he passed.


Earlier, Sylvester’s cousin, Perry Oromoni, in a series of tweets, suggested Dowen college was a haven for teenage cult members recruiting other pupils into their gang.


Subsequently, the school came under a barrage of criticism by many Nigerians who felt it was not being upfront with details of the tragic event. Some people, who sympathised with Sylvester’s parents, felt the school management did not do enough to curb bullying among its pupils.


For instance, more than 200,000 people signed a petition seeking justice in the case. The outrage generated by the death of Sylvester, who was fondly called “Junior” (because he was named after his father), forced the state government to temporarily shut down the school while it investigated the incident.


However, the management of Dowen College, in a statement, claimed an employee of the school informed it on November 21 that Sylvester was injured during a football match with fellow pupils and was not a victim of bullying. The school added that he was immediately treated by its in-house nurse and seemed to be fine initially. But the next day he complained of pain. It also dismissed the claim that Sylvester was killed after he refused to join a cult…..


Mr Oromoni later told PREMIUM TIMES, that his son told him moments before he died about how the alleged bullies whipped him multiple times with their belts. He claimed that the severe torture meted on his son was the cause of the injuries that led to his death.


On Monday, November 21, 2021, Rosemary Oromoni, Sylvester’s mother, received a call from a nurse at the sickbay of the college. She was informed that her son could not sleep through the night. When Peter Odeworitse, a family friend of Mr Oromomi, picked the boy from the school the next day, his health had deteriorated considerably – his body was aching and his legs were itching. He was making physical gestures that showed he had severe body pains.



His parents, who were in Warri Delta State at the time, then instructed Mr Odeworitse to take the boy for an x-ray to understand the possible cause of the pain.


Mr Oromoni admitted to this newspaper that the result of the x-ray contradicted his claim that his son was physically assaulted.



“The x-ray showed nothing. No dislocation and no fracture,” Mr Oromoni told PREMIUM TIMES. “The doctor who did the x-ray now advised that we should use hot balms to rub his body.”


Medical experts who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the description of how Sylvester was allegedly beaten does not match the outcome of the x-ray. Their verdicts were that there should be either internal or external injuries if his father’s description of what led to his death was to be believed.


“What the father said showed the boy must have been beaten severely. So, there should be one or two signs to show for it,” said Victor Biryi, an epidemiologist with a background in radiology. “If he was beaten that much, the x-ray would show at least one or two internal or external scars.”


Left to die at home

When Mr Oromoni learned his son was ill and in pain, he flew down to Lagos and travelled back to Warri by road for several hours with the ailing boy because there was no flight to Warri at the time. A few hours after arriving in Warri on November 26, Junior’s health had worsened.


In a video clip filmed by his relatives, he was seen twitching in pain. His legs and stomach appear bloated. His lips and teeth seemed reddened as if stained with blood. His mother was seen murmuring in tears and condemning those who had “hit my boy like this”.


PREMIUM TIMES understands from sources close to the family, who asked not to be named because they were not permitted to speak to the media on the matter, that Mr Oromoni did not immediately take Sylvester to a hospital for a professional examination.


Mr Oromoni, however, claimed he took his boy to Vicah Clinic, his family hospital in Warri, for treatment but there was no bed space, which necessitated taking him back home.


Asked why he didn’t take the boy to another hospital, he replied: “Can’t I ask a doctor to come and treat my son at home? Is it not the same thing? The hospital is not far from my house so I asked that he should be treated at home.”


Aghogho Owhojede, the family doctor to Mr Oromoni, declined PREMIUM TIMES calls when contacted several times to confirm if his hospital indeed had no bed space to accommodate the sick boy.


“I am not going to answer any question on this issue,” he told this reporter on one occasion.


Meanwhile, Mr Oromoni had told us that between the 26th and 30th of December, 2021, his son was given malaria pills as recommended by the doctor.



The family doctor would later appear before a Lagos coroner to give testimonies that experts said showed the sick boy died a terrible death due to lack of proper medical attention.


A clinical note without a diagnosis

On February 2, Anthony Kpokpo, Dowen College’s lawyer, unsettled Mr Owhojede as he appeared before Mikail Kadiri, the coroner at the Ikeja court. The doctor claimed he treated Sylvester for five days before he finally died on November 30. But his claims contradicted that of Mr Oromoni on how his son was treated before he died…


The misleading autopsy on Sylvester Oromoni that sparked outrage

One of Mr Oromoni’s many claims that sparked public outrage about his son’s death was that he was forcefully given a dangerous chemical substance to drink by the alleged teenage cultists at Dowen College.


This claim was emboldened by an autopsy that circulated online a few days after Sylvester’s death. The autopsy, conducted by one Clement Vhriterhire of the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, pronounced the cause of death of the deceased as “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma”.



Some angry members of the public gathered in front of the school to protest. The protesters asked that the school must remain closed until justice was done.


But then, contrary to the public understanding of the matter, the autopsy also included a toxicology examination, which was not included in the original autopsy report released by Mr Vhriterhire. On December 24, the toxicology result showed that the deceased had died of septicaemia or sepsis as the disease is commonly known, as against his earlier claim ..Linus Gift Ndack.

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