Sylvester Oromoni: Dowen College alleges ‘ambush’ by family

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Dowen College, Lagos, on Monday alleged before an Ikeja Coroner’s Court that it was ambushed by Mr Sylvester Oromoni Snr, father of a late student of school, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr.

Counsel to Dowen College, Mr Anthony Kpokpo, made the allegation at the start of the testimony of Oromoni Snr. after some documents, videos and audio recording were tendered in evidence.

Kpokpo said that the documents, videos and audio were withheld from other parties in the suit all the while to create shock.

The evidence include documents, photographs, audio recordings, videos and battered luggage of the deceased.

They were tendered by counsel to the Oromoni family, Mr Andrew Efole.

Video and photo slideshows of late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. was played at the inquest.

One of the videos was Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) of Nov. 23, 2021, which showed the late student arriving home from school.

In the footage, he could not walk into his home from the vehicle that brought him.

He had to be given a piggyback into his home.

A voice speaking over the recording said: “This is my brother when he was brought home from school. I had to call the security man to come and carry my brother.

“I do not know where Mr Adeyemi got his facts that he (Oromoni Jnr.) walked by himself.”

Other footages showed the late student crying in severe pain, being unable to walk and being aided by two female relatives.

Other videos showed him in various states of pain and discomfort.

There was an audio recording of Oromoni Snr. enquiring from late student’s classmate about what happened to his son.

Following the playing of the footages and audio, Kpokpo described tendering of the documents as an “intent to ambush the other side”.

“The content of this flash affirms our earlier assertion that it was deliberately kept away from us.

“The videos that we just watched and the managed audio we listened to had always been in the custody of the family of the deceased and was brought at this stage for shock value.

“In the circumstances of what we are seeing, we are constrained to go and view all the materials put before us.

“I pray that my learned friend is kind enough to extend the curtesy to us as we did to them so that we will be appropriately prepared to cross-examine the witness to move forward,” he said.

Counsel to Lagos State Government, Mr Akin George, also described the development as ‘ambush’.

“It will not be out of place to say the counsel on the other side acted in the nature of ambush,” he said.

Mr Godwin Omoaka (SAN), counsel to one of the accused Dowen College students, said that other parties to the proceedings were blindsided.

“My learned friend (Efole) ought to have made the documents available to us all this while.

“It is only appropriate that we see those videos and watch them, else, it will impact on the issue of fair hearing to us,” he said.

The Coroner Mr Mikhail Kadiri, adjourned the evidence of Oromoni Snr. until Feb. 14.

“This is to enable parties to study the documents and videos,” he said.

Proceedings were, however, adjourned until Feb. 8, for the testimony of a pathologist.

It was alleged that the 12-year-old Oromoni Jnr. died on Nov. 30, 2021, from injuries sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for refusing to join a cult.

It was also alleged that he was forced to drink an obnoxious substance by his attackers.

Advice by Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions released on Jan. 4, however, disputed the allegation, stating that two autopsies revealed the cause of the student’s death as acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.


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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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