The family of Sylvester Oromoni has berated the Lagos State Police Command for releasing the housemaster and other staff of Dowen College, Lekki.
Sylvester, a 12-year-old JSS 2 student of the school, died on November 30, 2021. The school had claimed that he sustained injuries from playing football. However, the family said before he gave up the ghost, he revealed that he was brutalised by bullies and a substance was forced down his throat.
An autopsy conducted by the Consultant Pathologist, Dr. Clement Vhriterhire, at the Central Hospital Warri concluded that Sylvester died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma.”
The student’s corpse was, however, conveyed to Lagos and a fresh autopsy was ordered by the police.
Sylvester’s murder sparked a nationwide outrage forcing the Lagos State Government to shut the school indefinitely. The five accused students were also remanded but granted N1m bail each by a court.
On Friday, the outgoing Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said the housemasters had also been released since the court order to remand them had expired.
Odumosu added that the police had concluded its investigations and forwarded its report to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and had received a response from the DPP.
He said, “The corpse was brought from Delta to Lagos. The post-mortem was carried out in Lagos. The result is out. As of now, it has not brought out the issue of murder on anybody (sic).
Toxicology is still to be carried out which is the final one. The interim one has not. Based on that, the court order we got has elapsed and we have released the housemaster and others on bail as of yesterday because they have not been indicted of murder. It is only murder cases that are not subject to bail.
“Since the medical report has not indicted them so far, I think there is a need for them to have their freedom because bail is not the end of the case.”
But Sylvester’s father disagreed with the police, insisting that it was wrong to have released the Dowen College workers when things had not reached a logical conclusion.
Mr. Oromoni dared Odumosu to make the autopsy report public.
He further argued that it was strange that the police, while still awaiting the toxicology report, could go ahead to declare that murder had not been established.
Sylvester’s father said, “I saw the press briefing by the police commissioner that no one has been indicted and they have been released. The autopsy result conducted in Lagos has not been made public. The one we conducted in Warri has not been made public. So, for him to conclude that no one has been indicted is not acceptable to the family.
“We knew this would happen and that was why we called on the Inspector-General of Police to take over. We have our own autopsy report from Warri. The report was handed over to the police in Delta and we are relying on it.
“The police have led the Nigerian public and we are not comfortable with this. The police acted hurriedly. We sent the corpse to Lagos but why are they waiting for the toxicology report from Delta? Can’t they do it together with the autopsy they are conducting?”