By Uche Amunike
The sad news of the much publicized Dowen College death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni in the Lekki area of Lagos State, has elicited reactions from Nigerians.
Recall that a Twitter user with the handle, @perrisonoromoni made the 12year old’s death public knowledge when he claimed that in his tweet that Sylvester died from injuries he got from the alleged beating he received from his fellow students, when they bullied him.
The management of Dowen College has however, denied the allegation that Sylvester was tortured to death for refusing to join cultism as was generally insinuated on social media.
The father of the deceased sent a post to social media, saying that his 12 year old son was actually bullied to death in school for refusing to join cultism. In his narrative, he claimed that the students who bullied his son also went ahead to ask him to describe the privates of his sister who also attended the same school.
According to him, it was reported and the college suspended the boys involved after his elder son took up the case and the young Sylvester was also switched to a new hostel, even though the bullying and intimidation continued even into the new term.
He alleged that his late son neither fell nor played ball, but was beaten up by students and that he died because of liver enlargement due to congealed blood. He also claimed that his son was fed a liquid substance described as a chemical for refusing to join the cult group. He went on to say that the parents of these boys already withdrew them from the school with plans of flying them out of the country, adding they are four in number.
The school management has however described the whole incident as strange and unbelievable. According to the Dowen College principal, Mrs Adebisi Layiwola, the college had effective anti-bullying policies and consequences are clearly spelt out to every student. She said that the preliminary investigation indicated that there was no fighting or bullying or any form of attack on the young Sylvester. She also maintained that he made no such reports nor did his sister who is also a student in the school or even the prefects or house parents or medical staff or management staff.
According to her, the school has two regular nurses and a qualified medical doctor that gives the children immediate medical attention when needed and the resident doctor follows the laid-down procedure by inviting the young Sylvester’s mother to take him home for further treatment after the initial treatment by the school medical staff.
On November 21, 2021 one of the hostel parents brought to the notice of the management that the young Sylvester was injured while playing football . This immediately made the resident registered nurse administer first aid treatment on him and released into his hospital after he expressed he felt better.
She added that on Monday 22nd of November during school hours one of his friends accompanied him to the sick bay, but he complained of some pain in his hip during class. After examination given to him by the doctor, Ibuprofen was prescribed for the pain and the nurse massaged his leg and then he felt better.
His mother was called, according to school policy, requesting her to come and get him for further medical attention but because she said she was not in Lagos, she promised to send the guardian to pick him up on her behalf. The next day because that the doctor did not see them guide them the mother was called yet again and she gave the assurance that his guardian will come. When he eventually showed up, he took him for X-Ray which eventually showed that no part of his body was broken or injured.
The statement continued, “As a result, it came as no small shock to us to read on the social media that he was beaten by some students and that he specifically mentioned some names. We immediately commenced investigations and invited the students allegedly mentioned for interview. His guardian was also present during the interviews, which revealed that nothing of such happened.
“The school has a very cordial relationship with the family as he is the fifth child of the family Dowen College has the privilege to train, including his elder sister who is currently a student at the school.
“Furthermore, we state categorically Dowen College is built on core values of godliness and excellence and will not tolerate any acts of cultism, which is why there is nothing like that and there has never been such deviant activities going on, as this is a faith based school and effective policies are in place to prevent such occurrence.