On 1st December 2021, the internet was taken aback by a series of tweets and videos shared by @PerrisOnoromoni who revealed that his 12-year-old nephew, Sylvester Oromoni had died as a result of bullying he experienced at Dowen College, Lagos.
Despite a statement from Dowen College claiming that Sylvester’s injuries were sustained during a routine football match, conversations and media coverage surrounding the case eventually led to a series of online and physical protests which forced the Lagos State Government to shut down the school indefinitely, while it opened up an investigation into the case.
Housemaster and other key suspects arrested
According to his parents, before his death, Sylvester had named five students who he claimed attacked him in school, inflicting multiple internal injuries. This information, coupled with an investigation by the Lagos State division of the Nigerian Police Force led to the arrest of a housemaster and the five students allegedly connected to the murder case.
The Lagos State police commissioner, Hakeem Odumumosu confirmed this on Tuesday, 7th December 2021, although he refused to release the names of those arrested.
President Buhari makes a statement
Reacting to news of Sylvester’s murder, President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement shared by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, asked for Sylvester’s death to act as a “trigger leading to a permanent solution to this recurring problem.”
He also promised that the incident would be thoroughly investigated, with the culprit(s) facing the wrath of the law.
Suspects granted bail
Following a series of tests including an autopsy, the Lagos State police released suspects connected with the case, stating that the autopsy failed to confirm their role in Sylvester’s death. While the police commissioner claimed the release was legal, Sylvester’s family and lawyer called out the system as the bail came before the investigation had been concluded.
On 5th January 2022, the Lagos State Government announced its final ruling on Sylvester’s case, clearing all suspects, including Dowen College, of any role in the alleged murder. The Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Adetutu Oshinusi stated that the tests and investigations carried out showed that Sylvester’s death was not caused by severe beatings or any harmful substance. This ruling marks the official end of the case and any other investigation.
Not done quite yet
Sylvester’s family has rejected the judgement, maintaining that their son was murdered and accusing the Lagos state government, the Director of Public Prosecution and the Lagos State Police Force of attempting to cover up the murder case. They have also called on the President, the Inspector General of Police, human rights groups and the general public to help them in the quest for justice.
We will update and share more information as the case unfolds.