Amanda Elohor Oromoni, a former student of Dowen College in Lagos, has testified before an Ikeja Coroner’s Court seeking to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of her 12-year-old brother, Sylvester Oromoni Junior.
KanyiDaily recalls that Sylvester Oromoni died on November 30, 2021, from injuries alleged to be sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for allegedly refusing to join a cult.
Sylvester’s father, who vowed not to bury his son until justice is served, had claimed that his boy was attacked and fed a liquid chemical that eventually led to his death.
But Dowen College had dismissed the claims and alleged that the boy sustained injuries while playing football with his colleagues in school.
Amidst the controversy surrounding the boy’s death, two autopsies were carried out on the deceased — one by the Delta police and the second by the force’s Lagos command.
The first autopsy had revealed that Oromoni died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication,” while the second autopsy established that the boy died naturally — and not by chemical poison.
The case had been before a magistrate court in Epe, Lagos where a coroner was examining the cause of death but was subsequently transferred to the Ikeja high court.
Sylvester Oromoni’s Sister Testifies Before Court
During the latest sitting on Monday, February 7, the magistrate, Mikhail Kadiri barred journalists and the public from proceedings during the testimony of Amanda Elohor Oromoni.
Amanda narrated how her late brother was maltreated by his fellow students and Dowen College staff members failed to punish bullies who eventually beat Sylvester to death.
Amanda’s statement was contained in a court document dated January 14 as part of the statement given before the Coroner’s inquest at the Epe Magistrate Court, Lagos.
Amanda’s full statement reads, “I, Amanda Elohor Oromoni, Female, Nigeria Citizen of Lotiebiri Quarters Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State Nigeria do make oath and state as follows:
“That I am the immediate elder sister to-late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. That I was a student of Dowen College, Lekas Phase 1, Lagos State until November 2021.
“On the day we took our unified test result which was our open day and vacated for the mid-term break in October 2021, Favour Benjamin approached me and informed me that my late younger brother/Sylvester Oromoni Jnr told him and others in their room that he had seen my nakedness.
“That as a result of this statement I became angry and started yelling at my late brother and I broke down and started crying before two of my friends, Olivia and Chisom. They cheered me up and advised me to stop crying.
“That while my said friends were trying to make me feel happy, one Sadiq (a perfect) in the school who incidentally observed that I was crying came to ask me what happened and I related same to him.
“That based on what I told Sadiq, he called my late brother and was talking to him when I left for the cafeteria for lunch. That when I returned, I saw my brother writing something on a piece of paper and I asked Sadiq what was going on and Sadiq replied that I should ask my brother.
“It was then my brother made me know and understand that he had to tell Favour Benjamin, Joseph Aisagbonhi and Babatunde Brodiemends that he had seen my nakedness.
“That my brother said he had to say so, so that they could stop beating, bullying and flogging him. That Sadiq directed my late brother to write a statement about this so that he could hand it over to Mr. Adeyemi.
“That after the statement was written and given to Sadiq, I did not follow Sadiq to Mr Aderemi office to really confirm whether the written statement was handed to him or not.
“That afterwards we went to the hostel waiting for our elder brother Keyness Oromoni to come and pick us up for the Midterm break. While waiting, my elder sister who had just graduated from school called via telephone to say my elder brother’s wife was coming to pick us up.
“That while still conversing with my said sister, I told her everything and my late younger was queried but eventually they were made to understand that he said so because of the bully, pressure and beating he received from Favour Benjamin, Joseph Aisagbonhi and Babatunde Brodiemends.
“My elder brother was very upset and made plans to visit the school because of this issue but I told him that the school had already suspended the boys because one of the boys called Joseph Aisagbonhi came to apologize and said that they were just joking while Favour Benjamin just asked that question.
“Since Joseph Aisagbonhi came to apologize and Sadiq had told me that he would give the statement to Mr. Adeyemi, I concluded that the boys were being punished as even during the midterm break, Benjamin Favour kept calling my phone and apologizing to avoid trouble. He even wished I speak to my parents on their behalf.
“On Sunday we went back to the hostel and my elder sister called Anita Oromoni requested a change of room for my late brother.
“This step or request was made because my brother as of then who was a Junior Secondary School 2 student was occupying a room with four Senior Secondary School 1 and JSS 3 students.
“While in school I noticed that the boys were still in school and I concluded that I should observe it for a week whether the boys would get another punishment other than suspension.
“On Saturday I saw Mr. Adeyemi who came to visit my hostel so I used the opportunity to ask him if he received any statement from Sadiq and he said Sadiq did not give him any statement about the issue concerning Benjamin Favour, Joseph Aisagbonhi and Babatunde Brodiemends.
“I narrated everything to Mr. Adeyemi who got angry over the incident and asked me to see him on Monday in his office to give a formal report via a written statement.
“That as I was conversing with Mr. Adeyemi, Mrs. Celine heard our conversation and what happened and I did narrate everything to her.
“Mrs Celine asked me to call my brother for her and which I did and as I was crying, I asked my brother whether they did anything to him for reporting them and he said that they told his friends to stop talking to him because he is a snitch but his friends did not do that to him.
“That Mrs Celine called Favour Benjamin to confirm the true position of things. As he could not deny, Mrs Celine asked him to go as she said she would call him when she was with Mr Valentine.
“Afterwards, Mrs Celine took me to the boys’ hostel cafeteria to see Mr Valentine and asked me to tell Mr Valentine what had transpired between me and Favour Benjamin and I did.
“That while narrating to Mr Valentine, he tried to blame me by asking me how Benjamin Favour got my number and I answered him but he still kept blaming me that I was part of the problem for having a social media account at my age through which favour Benjamin got my contact and started pleading for forgiveness.
“That as a result of the comment, I told Mr Valentine that I was only concerned about my brother for what they did to him and he was still in the same hostel with them particularly after the boys lied against him, flogged him and forced him to say what he never wanted to say.
“That consequently, Mr Valentine and Mrs Celine asked us to write a statement including my late brother and Favour Benjamin.
“However, I cannot say whether they wrote their statement as I only wrote one and gave it to Mrs Celine and requested to speak to my parents specifically my dad but they did not allow me access to do that. Mrs Celine told me specifically that she will not allow me to do that by calling my parents.
“As students became aware of the matter, they started calling me names which made me cry. That thereafter, I used the phone of a student in my hostel to call my sister who encouraged me to be focused on my studies and ignore what people were saying about me.
“On Monday, while I was at the cafeteria, to take my lunch, I saw Mr Adeyemi who asked me why I did not come to him during the short break, I replied to him that Mrs Celine said she would come with my statement and the statement of Benjamin Favour, my brother and Mr Valentine to his office, hence I was waiting for them.
“That I waited endlessly as neither Mrs Celine nor any one of them talked about it again but my elder sister’s request for my late brother’s change of room was granted.
“I, however, thought. Mrs. Celine forgot about the matter but she kept on asking me whenever we came across each other whether I had forgiven Favour Benjamin and when I said no, she would plead with me to forgive him.
“That at that point I became worried for my late brother. Each time I saw him and asked him if he was fine, he would say yet but eventually he said the boys told him that they would do to him what they did to Wesley.
“That Wesley was beaten up after some students turned off the light and this was exactly what happened to my late brother after they turned off the light.
“That the Wesley Issue was in public domain hence he even left the school finally. Wesley’s conversation with me on Instagram as to this issue has been printed out and handed to the police from SCID, Yaba, Lagos State
“I actually thought the boys were suspended because when Joseph Aisagbonhi came to apologize, he was flaunting a paper in his hand which I felt was a suspension letter but I later discovered it was not.
“Even when I later discovered that they were not suspended and I eventually wanted to call my parents, Mrs Celine did not allow me to call them. I do solemnly declare that make (sic) this solemn declaration conscientiously, believing same to be true and in accordance with the provisions of the Oaths Laws of Lagos State.”
Court Admits Audio, Video Evidence
The coroner in Ikeja, Mikhail Kadiri admitted two audio and one video pieces of evidence against Dowen College which captured the deceased before his death.
Oromoni’s family also presented for admission evidence documents and a box belonging to the deceased but said to have been damaged during the alleged fatal attack.
In one of the audios, a colleague to the late Oromoni claimed the deceased was attacked by three to five students. He said he had reported the matter to Dowen’s vice-principal and was asked to write a statement to that effect.
The student claimed he had a torchlight on the night of the attack but didn’t get to see the faces of Oromoni’s attackers.
Anthony Kpokpo, counsel to Dowen College, argued that the evidence submitted was deliberately kept from them.
Kpokpo asked that the files, videos, and audios be sent to all parties before the witness can be cross-examined.
“The videos, audios, and the box have always been in the custody of the deceased family but were not referenced in the statement of oath earlier field. In this circumstance, we are constrained to go and review,” he told the court.
Izuchukwu Ohajinwa, another Dowen counsel, requested that information be made available on the source of the CCTV videos submitted to enable him to ascertain their authenticity.
Responding to the claim that the family was “springing up surprises” on the defence side, Andrew Efoli, counsel to the Oromoni family, said he wasn’t opposed to adjournment to allow all parties to review the audio and videos files.
Kadiri postponed this line of inquiry to February 14 and adjourned to February 8 for the pathologist’s testimony.
KanyiDaily recalls that at the last sitting, Oromoni’s family doctor, Henry Owhojede, narrated how he treated the deceased at home for five days before his death. He also said the deceased was taken to the church rather than a hospital.