Late Sylvester Oromoni Junior would have marked his 12th birthday today, but he did not live to see the special day as he succumbed to death on November 30, after battling pain and injuries sustained after he was allegedly beaten and molested by some students of his school.
Sly Junior as he was fondly called was until his death a JSS 2 student of Dowen College, Lekki, in Lagos State.
The news of the circumstances that led to his death has been generating reactions from different quarters since it surfaced on Twitter on Wednesday.
Perrie who said Junior was his cousin posted on his Twitter handle, @perrisonoromoni, that his 12-year-old cousin was beaten to death for refusing to join a cult group.
The management of Dowen College had in a statement responded, narrating that on November 21, one of the hostel parents reported that the young boy was injured while playing football; adding that the resident nurse immediately administered first aid on him and that after he expressed relief, was released to return to his hostel room.
The school expressed shock over reports on social media that he was beaten by some students and that he specifically mentioned some names.
The statement reads in part: “We immediately commenced an investigation and invited the students allegedly mentioned for interview. His guardian was also present during the interviews, which revealed that nothing of such happened. The whole incident was strange and unbelievable because the school has effective anti-bullying policies and consequences are well spelt out to all the students.”
Daily Trust located Junior’s father, Mr Sylvester Oromoni, who told our correspondent that his son told him he did not go to the field or play ball.
“He narrated that he was in his room lying down on the bed on Sunday evening when five boys walked in, put off the light, moved straight to his bed and started beating him with belts. He fell out from the bed, and then, they started kicking and hitting him with their legs. He mentioned three names of the five boys that inflicted the pain on him. He said he could not identify the faces of the other two boys while he made known that one of the boys had asked him to describe his older sister’s private part sometime in September this year.
“He further said the boys gave him something to drink, which was not water, and that he couldn’t ascertain what it was because the light had been put off. Afterward, he said he and other boys in the room were threatened not to tell anyone what had happened to him, and that he should say he was injured while playing football. He said the boys threatened to kill him and others should they confess the truth; that was why he refused to open up,” Oromoni said.
“He said he told them he cannot describe his sister’s private part because he hadn’t seen it before. He said they kept beating him, so in order to be free from their hands, he succumbed to pressure and said that he had seen his sister’s private part,” he further said.
“I am pained, I and my family feel terribly bad over this loss; my boy did not sleep throughout the period because of pain. I want justice to be done. All I want from the school is for it to produce those boys for prosecution. We had reported the case of harassment to the school before, what did they do? Educationally, it is a very good school, but administratively, poor,” he lamented.
He described Sly Junior, his last son, as very gentle, God-fearing and loved by his colleagues and teachers. He also said he was a lover of football but had wanted to be a pilot.
On whether Sly Junior said anything about being initiated into a cult before he died, Mr Oromoni said his son confessed to having been given something to drink by the boys that attacked him.
“The reason for the beating and for what he was given to drink is what I do not understand. He was in pain even while making the statement. When he mentioned one thing, he took a deep breath before he could say another thing,” he added.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has directed a full scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sylvester Oromoni Junior.
Spokesman of the police in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the school’s authority did not report the matter to the police when it happened.
Lagos shuts school
The Lagos State Government has ordered the indefinite closure of Dowen College pending the outcome of the investigation into the death.
The Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, announced the closure after a meeting with the school’s management and staff on Friday.
Mrs Adefisayo sympathised with the family of the deceased and called for calm among stakeholders, assuring that no effort would be spared in getting to the root of the incident.