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Sylvester: ‘As a father, if it were you, how would you feel?’, Coroner asks Dowen College teacher



A teacher and houseparent at Dowen College, Lagos, Mr Ahmed Ayomo, was asked by a Coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri, on Monday, “As a father, if it were you, how would you feel? Would you still have confidence in the school?”.

The question was over the death of a 12-year-old student, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr at the College. Kadiri asked Ayomo the question before an Ikeja Corona’s Court unraveling the circumstances surrounding the student’s death.

Ayomo however disclosed that the College has begun installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras following the death of a 12-year-old student, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr on November 30, 2021.

His family is alleging that he died from injuries he sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for refusing to join a cult.

The family also alleges that the late student was forced to drink an obnoxious substance by his attackers.

Advice by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions released on Jan. 4, however, disputed the allegations.

It stated that an autopsy revealed the cause of the student’s death as acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.

Ayomo, an Islamic Studies Teacher, who has been employed by Dowen College for 13 years, made the disclosure while answering questions from the Coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri.

Ayomo, who served as a guardian to the late student, also told the court that, to ensure safety and security of students, additional apartments for houseparents were being built on each block of hostels in the college.

Regarding the bullying allegation, Ayomo said that he was not aware if the school management took any disciplinary action against the student that asked the deceased to describe the private part of his elder sister.

“The Assistant Director of the hostel, Mr Valentine, punished the student for the act but I am not aware if the management as a whole took any disciplinary action against him,” he said.

Kadiri asked, “As a father, if it were you, how would you feel? Would you still have confidence in the school?”

Ayomo responded that he would not feel happy but he would still have confidence in the school.

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Earlier, while being cross-examined by counsel to the Oromoni family, Mr Andrew Efole, the witness said that the late student never complained to him about some senior students demanding for his provisions.

Efole, referencing to the statements of witnesses to the police, disputed Ayomo’s claim.

He said that he was aware that the deceased informed the teacher about some senior students wanting to take his provisions from him.

Efole enquired again if the deceased ever complained to Ayomo, as his house parent, that his provisions were being taken away by some senior students.

The witness then replied in the affirmative.

“If I confront you with a document to the effect that he complained to you, would you want the court to regard you as a witness that lacks integrity?

“I want to refer the court to a statement made by the witness dated  Dec.12, 2021, at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

“It reads: ‘Sylvester Oromoni was well known to me as his houseparent. He complained that some people were begging him for his provisions, that he would like to keep the provisions in my house for protection’.

“This statement was written by you,” Efole said.

The witness replied in the affirmative, noting that it was his document.

Questioning Ayomo further, Efole asked, ” As a houseparent, can you tell the court when the principal became aware that the boy was sick?”

Responding, Ayomo said: ”On Nov. 23, 2021, I  went to the principal to collect exit card from the principal for the deceased. On Nov. 28, the principal became aware of the deceased’s sickness.

“On Nov. 27 2021, I  called the mother to ask about the deceased. She said they were in a  church.

“On Nov. 28, 2021, I called the principal and said that one of boys was at home and he was staying too long, and I gave the mother’s number to the principal.

“As the principal was talking with the mother, the deceased was screaming.

“The mother told the principal that they were massaging his body, the principal prayed for him,” the witness said.

The coroner adjourned proceedings until Feb. 28 for continuation of hearing.


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