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I won’t bury my son even if it takes 30 years to get justice – Sylvester’s dad

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Sylvester Oromoni

• No evidence Sylvester was tortured, bullied – Lagos CP

Sylvester Oromoni, the father of the late 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, has restated the family’s commitment to get justice, saying that he would not bury his son even if it takes 30 years to get justice.

He also kicked against the report of the autopsy carried out at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, alleging that there was foul play.

Sylvester’s death went viral following a social media post by his cousin, Perry Oromoni, who alleged that some senior pupils of the school beat him up in his hostel because he refused to join a cult.

The school denied the claim, stating that the boy complained of leg pains following an injury he sustained while playing football.

The state government ordered the indefinite closure of the school pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter.

Five students and five employees of the school were arrested by the police but legal advice by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Adetutu Oshinusi, cleared the suspects.

The autopsy carried out by a consultant pathologist at the Central Hospital Warri, Clement Vhriterhire, revealed that Sylvester died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma.”

But the interim and final autopsy report by LASUTH attributed the cause of death to “Septicaemia, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right ankle.”

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However, the outgoing Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu, on Friday said the toxicology report of the first autopsy carried out in Warri was released on December 30, 2021, signed by Vhriterhire, attributing cause of death to “acute bacteria pneumonia due to severe sepsis.”

Sylvester Snr and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, had kicked against the DPP’s advice with the latter describing the report as “escapist and hasty.”

Falana had said, “The report has not laid to rest the allegations surrounding the gruesome murder of Sylvester Oromoni. The report is escapist and hasty as the authorities are aware of the fact that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State has ordered that an inquest be conducted into the circumstances surrounding the unnatural death of Sylvester Oromoni. The inquest, which commenced before the coroner on December 16, 2021, has been adjourned till January 15, 2022 for further hearing.”

Speaking to our correspondent on Friday the father said the case had yet to have a closure, insisting that his son would not be buried until “justice is served” even if it took as long as 30 years.

He said, “The family does not have power. We only rely on God. If they insist that the school will reopen, there is no problem. If God keeps me for 20 or 30 years, I will follow up this case. Government will come, the government will go. I am not bothered. The soul of that boy is crying round. God is alive; He cannot be bribed.

“My son will never be buried. If it takes me 30 years to get justice, he would remain there (in the mortuary). He is my son; I won’t bury him. Nigerians should look beyond what they are saying.”

Asked if he had any doubt over the autopsy released by the state government, he retorted “Do they have any autopsy report? They don’t have any. The doctor that did the autopsy in Delta State was recommended by the Area Commander. He is not the family doctor. We don’t know him. Our lawyer applied to the Area Command to get a copy of the autopsy.”

But Odumosu, during a press briefing held at the police headquarters in Ikeja on Friday and tagged ‘Sylvester Oromoni Jnr: Update on Investigation,’ dismissed any foul play.

He said eight persons–five pupils and three house masters – were arrested following a petition to the police on the matter, adding that on December 9, 2021, he interviewed the late pupil’s family, the school management, and witnesses at the command’s headquarters.

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He said, “During the open interview, it was unanimously agreed that another autopsy should be carried out where pathologists from all parties would be present. Investigation was extended to Delta State and Abuja. I will like to state here that investigation revealed that the same case was reported at the Area Command Warri, Delta State, on December 1, 2021.

“It has also been established that a post mortem examination was initially carried out on December 2, 2021 by a Consultant Pathologist, Dr. Clement Vhriterhire of the Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State. The result of the first autopsy dated December 10, 2021 attributed the cause of death to ‘acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma.’

“However, toxicology screening was recommended and also carried out. While waiting for the result of the toxicology, another autopsy was ordered by the Coroner Magistrate in Lagos because of the status of jurisdiction. The corpse was, therefore, moved with armed police escorts from Delta State to Lagos State by TOS Funeral and the autopsy conducted at the expense of the Lagos State Government. The second autopsy was carried out at the Lagos state University Teaching Hospital on December 14, 2021 in the presence of representatives of all the parties involved in the case.”

The CP said the second autopsy was carried out by the Consultant Pathologist and Chief Examiner, Department of Pathology and Forensic Sciences, LASUTH, Dr. S.S Soyemi, witnessed by representatives of all the parties, including Vhriterhire, as well as police officers, among other principal officials.

Odumosu said the final results of the post mortem and toxicology examination conducted at Delta and Lagos states agreed that the deceased died a natural death.

He stated, “Before the expiration of the 21 days remand order, the families of the students applied for their bail at the Magistrates’ Court 1 Yaba. The application was approved hence the students who were earlier remanded at Boys Home, Oregun, were granted bail. The house masters were also granted bail after the expiration of the 21 days remand order.

“The result of the second autopsy carried out in Lagos was released on December 21, 2021. The result attributed the cause of death to ‘Septicaemia, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right ankle.’ On December 30, 2021, the toxicology screening results of the first autopsy carried out in Warri was released. The result issued and signed by Dr Clement Vhriterhire, the same doctor who carried out the initial autopsy, attributed the cause of death to ‘acute bacteria pneumonia due to severe sepsis.’

“At the end of diligent investigation carried out so far, there is no evidence to establish a case of torture, bullying and forceful application of poisonous substance against the suspects. All the suspects denied the allegations of torture, bullying and administering of poisonous substance to the deceased. Allegation that the deceased was being forced to join a cult group was also not established as other students interviewed denied this.”

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Lagos traditional ruler jailed 15 years

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a traditional ruler to a 15-year jail term for faking his kidnap.

Mutiu Ogundare, who a deposed Baale of Shangisha in the Magodo area of Lagos, was found guilty of the offence by the court.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Ogundare having convicted him of the two counts, bordering on breach of peace and fake kidnapping.

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Midnight gunshots, burglars terrify Lagos community

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Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area

Residents of Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State have lamented incessant gunshots every midnight in the area.

The residents, who spoke to our correspondent, also decried the activities of burglars and miscreants who terrorised people in the community.

A resident, who identified himself simply as Biggie for security reasons, said he realised he was not the only one aware of the situation when he got a call from a neighbour while another shooting was going on.

He said, “A neighbour called my phone one midnight to alert me when he heard the gunshots. I told him that wasn’t the first time such was happening. It has been the case since a man in the neighbourhood was shot dead inside his house while wrestling with armed robbers.”

Another resident, Kola Ajayi, said the neighbourhood also had the same challenge in 2019.

“It was after the community hired vigilantes that the gunshots stopped. Now, the situation is repeating itself,” he added.

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The Chairman, Abule Taylor Community Development Association, Oluwaniyi Emmanuel, confirmed the situation to our correspondent but said “it’s been a while I heard the sound.”

He, however, lamented the activities of miscreants and burglars in the area.

Emmanuel said, “The house opposite the open space where we hold our CDA meetings was recently broken into by burglars who carted away all the property. The principal culprit is from Abiodun Aina Street. He has been disowned by his mother.

“Also, armed robbers do attack and extort those who use Automated Teller Machines in the area. The kiosks where alcoholic drinks are sold in the area are becoming a safe haven for criminals who launch operations from the base.

“We’ve complained to the Lagos State Government, but no serious action was taken. The joint CDA wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police to deploy officers in the area. However, what the officers were doing was checking vehicle particulars.”

The CDA Assistant Chairman, Okolo Chukwuedo, said, “There was a time a man was killed on the street where the CDA chairman lives. His house was broken into by the people who shot him dead.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, could not be reached for comments as of press time.

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Zamfara Killing: MURIC hails media for fair reporting

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Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof Ishaq Lakin Akintola

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has hailed the Nigerian media for properly reporting the killing of Muslims in Zamfara last Friday, September 23, 2022.

MURIC commendation is contained in a press statement signed Sunday by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

However, theIslamic human rights organization slammed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for falsely claiming that it was only Christians that are being killed in Nigeria.

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The statement reads in part: “Terrorists invaded the Friday prayer mosque in Ruwan Jema town in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State Friday, 23rd September, 2022 killing fifteen (15) and injuring forty eight (48) Muslim worshippers. The armed men hid their guns inside their clothes and pretended to be worshippers. They opened fire on innocent worshippers after entering the mosque.

“MURIC is particularly impressed by the manner in which the killing was reported. Unlike in the past when the killing of Muslims attract little or no media attention and mere casualty figures are given while the religion of the victims are deliberately left out, this time around, the Nigerian press really went to town with stories of the Zamfara killings and most media houses identified the victims as Muslims. This is quite laudable.

“The Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of MURIC reported the use of the following captions in different media houses to describe the Zamfara killings (https://saharareporters.com/2022/09/24/breaking-scores-worshippers-killed-terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaathttps://dailypost.ng/2022/09/24/bandits-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-in-zamfara/https://www.thecable.ng/15-worshippers-killed-as-bandits-attack-mosque-in-zamfarahttps://muslimnews.com.ng/2022/09/25/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaat-prayer-kill-15-worshippers-turkiye-envoy-mourns/https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/09/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-2/https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-shoot-15-worshippers-dead-in-zamfara-mosque/https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/09/25/terrorists-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-injure-others-in-zamfara/https://punchng.com/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-gun-down-worshippers/https://tribuneonlineng.com/gunmen-kill-15-worshippers-in-mosque-in-zamfara/https://www.channelstv.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-at-least-11/https://thenationonlineng.net/bandits-invade-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers/)

“Even some foreign media like Voice of America (VOA) and Reuters were not left out of the fair reportage (https://www.voanews.com/a/armed-bandits-kill-15-at-mosque-in-northwest-nigeria-residents-say-/6761811.htmlhttps://www.reuters.com/world/africa/armed-bandits-kill-15-mosque-northwest-nigeria-residents-2022-09-24/https://newscentral.africa/fifteen-killed-forty-eight-injured-as-bandits-ransack-zamfara-mosque/) We salute them all.   

“However, a few media houses need to be awake to the sensitivity of the revelation of identities when reporting incidents like this. It may not have been deliberate, but newsmen need to be conscious of the need not only to be fair but also to be seen to have been fair. At least one or two media houses left out the identity of the faith of the victims of the Zamfara killing (https://www.tvcnews.tv/2018/06/police-confirm-fresh-attack-in-zamfara-village-15-killed/https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/265729-police-confirm-15-killed-in-zamfara-attack.html).

“Both the press and non-governmental organisations should be partners in progress. We cherish the emerging culture of equity, fairness and professionalism in reportage. Both Christians and Muslims deserve fair representation in media reports. This will promote peaceful coexistence among the different faiths.

 “The manner of reporting the Zamfara killings thus revealed the fact that it was Muslims that were killed and injured last Friday. We therefore wonder how the Christian Association of Nigeria arrived at its conclusion that only Christians were being killed in Nigeria and it tried to sell such a dangerous idea to the West, knowing it to be false.

“MURIC is constrained to ask CAN if the 15 worshippers killed and the 48 injured in Zamfara mosque last Friday were also Christians? What of the 200 worshippers killed and the 165 injured in Boko Haram’s bomb attack in Kano Central Mosque on 28th November 2014 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30250950)? Were they also Christians? Do Christians attend Jumu’ah prayers in mosques?

“The intention and likely outcome of such vicious lies are not lost on us. America and its Western allies like Britain, France and Germany are likely to impose travel sanctions on Muslim leaders in government, label some Islamic organisations in Nigeria as terrorist groups, place some Islamic scholars on terror watch and begin a process of secret supply of weapons to Christian leaders and Nigerian churches.

“But the greatest benefit would have been a geometric increase in the pouring of monetary support in billions of dollars, euro and British pounds to Christian leaders and groups.

“MURIC condemns the killing of innocent Muslims who had only gone to the mosque for their Jumu’ah prayer last Friday. For the umpteenth time, we reiterate our stand that terrorists and bandits are not part of us. They belong to the evil circle of criminals. They are not part of the Muslim community.

“They are rebellious subjects and enemies of peace. Nobody, therefore, should associate them or their actions with the peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims of Nigeria. In the same vein, it will be naïve for any individual or group within or outside the country to link the actions of terrorists and bandits with the Nigerian government.

“We commiserate with Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara, on the senseless killing of innocent citizens of his state. We pray that Allah will forgive the dead and grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss and the economic empowerment to take care of dependants left behind by their bread winners. Above all, we pray for peace in Zamfara, the entire North and the rest of Nigeria.”

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