The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has upheld the clearance of the five students of Dowen College alleged to be connected in the murder of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni.

On Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), cleared the five students alleged to have taken part in the incident that led to the death of late Sylvester.

The DPP advice caused Ijaw Youth to protest at the entrance of the Dowen College, Lekki area of Lagos State on Thursday. The protesters faulted DPP’s clearance.

Odumosu maintained that the command had concluded investigation into the death of   Sylvester, a Junior Secondary School (JSS2) student and found the three House masters and five students earlier arrested in connection with his death not culpable.

Addressing journalists, the number one policeman in the state, said: “A formal complaint was received on December 2, 2021 via a petition by V. o Grant & Co, and signed by A.E Afole et Al, dated December 1, 2021. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Maroko Police Station was immediately directed to carry out preliminary investigation into the incident, notwithstanding that the incident was not reported at any police station. On the same day that the petition was received, the DPO Maroko commenced preliminary investigation by visiting Dowen College on a fact-finding- mission. However, due to the seriousness of the incident and the police need to carry out diligent investigations, the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID), was directed by me to take over the investigation of the case with immediate effect.”

Odumosu further stated that in compliance with this directive, the SCIID took over the case on December 10, 2021 and continued the investigation in earnest. In the course of the investigation, eight suspects were arrested. They included three house masters of the college and five students who were said to have been mentioned by the deceased before his death.

He mentioned the fingered students as; Ansel Temile,14; Michael Kashamu, 15; Kenneth Inyang , 15; Favour Benjamin,16 and Edward Begue,16.  While the house masters are: Valentine Igbokwe, 45; Ahmed Bariyu,52 and Adesaya Olusegun,42.

He explained: “A remand warrant dated December 7,2021, was obtained at the Yaba Magistrate Court to enable the police to detain the suspects for 21 days , in the first instance while investigation continued. On December 9, 2021, all the parties, including the deceased’s family, the school management and witnesses, were interviewed by me at the Command headquarters, Ikeja. During the open interview, it was unanimously agreed that another autopsy should be carried out where pathologists from all parties will 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 postmortem examination was initially carried out on December 2, 2022, by a consultant pathologist, Dr. Clement Vhriterhire of the Central Hospital, Warri Delta.”

Odumosu continued: “The result of the first autopsy dated December 10, 2022, 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 Corona Magistrate in Lagos State because of the status of jurisdiction.  The corpse was therefore moved with armed police escort 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 Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on December 14, 2021, in the presence of representatives of all the parties involved in the case. It was carried out by Dr. S.S Soyemi, the Consultant Pathologist and Chief Examiner, Department of Pathology and Forensic Sciences, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Ikeja. The autopsy was witnessed by the following persons: Dr. Uwon Eze, Consultant Pathologist , from UCH, repressing Timiles family; Dr. Badmus Kabiru, Consultant Pathologist from LUTH represented Dowen College; Dr. Nigwe Chikodili Isabila, Consultant Pathologist from Military Hospital , Yaba, represents Edward Brown, student of Dowen College; Dr Clement Vhriterhire, Consultant Pathologist who performed the first autopsy, represented family of the deceased; Dr. Musa Stephen Itopa, Consultant Pathologist, from UBTH, represented Kashamu Michael, student of Dowen College; Dr. F. E Emiogun, Consultant pathologist in LASUTH; Dr. O.O Kilauvie- Emegbo, Consultant Pathologist, LASUTH; Dr O.O Onayemi, Senior Registrar in LASUTH; Dr N. Salisu, Senior Registrar in autopsy posting in LASUTECH, Dr. AC China, Registrar from ABU, from autopsy posting in LASUTH; Dr. F. Emetomah,Registrar, CSP Radaw Oseni, from the Homicide section, represented. The Nigeria Police Force , Lagos State Command; DSP Olusegun Bamidele also from Homicide section, represented the Nigeria Police Force , LAGOS State command, Sergeant Shola Adeniyi, Homicide Section also represented the Lagos State Police Command.”

Odumosu noted that before the expiration of the 21-days remand order, families of the students applied for their bail at Magistrate Court 1, Yaba. The application was approved, hence the students who were earlier remanded at Boys Home, Oregon, were granted bail. The House Masters were also granted bail after the expiration of the 21 days remand order.

“The result of a second autopsy carried out in Lagos which was released on December 21, 2021, attributed the cause of death to septicemia, lobar pneumonia with acute pyelonephritis and pyomyositis of the right angle. On December 30, 2021, the Toxicology Screening result of the first autopsy carried in Warri was released. The result issued and signed by Dr. Clement Vhriterhire, same Doctor who carried out the initial autopsy, attributed cause of death to acute bacteria pneumonia due to severe sepsis. At the end of the 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. The final result of the postmortem and Toxicology examination conducted both at Warri and Lagos, agreed that the deceased died a natural death,” stated Odumosu.

The CP also said that findings and the second autopsy include marked colour of organs, pneumonia (infection of the lungs, infection of the liver and kidney as well as the heart. These infections emanated from the ankle infection described earlier in the report.

He said: “Microscopic section also confirmed this findings: death was caused by septicemia, following infections of the lungs and kidneys arising from the ankle wound. No evidence of blunt force trauma in his body. The findings in the esophagus and stomach are not compatible with chemical intoxication. Death in this case is natural. Despite these and the following legal proceedings, the case file was duplicated and sent to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP for legal advice. Legal advice however indicated that there is no prima facie case of murder, involuntary man slaughter or malicious administering of poison with intent of harm against the students and house masters. Hence they cannot be prosecuted. They were all released on bail. In spite of the transparent investigation carried out by the Police and the non-establishment of prima facie case against the suspects, some members of the Ijaw Youths Council, Lagos, led by Comrade Henry Oyobolo, protested in from of DOWEN College for over two hours on January 6, 2022. The protesters, including masquerades, carried placards and were drumming, thereby causing panic and apprehension. Much as we commiserated with the bereaved family on the death of their lovely and promising child, it is advised that the protesters and other individuals or groups, who are still aggrieved, should go to the law court to seek redress, instead of taking laws into their own hands. These members of the public who may have misgivings about the outcome of Police investigation, medical enquiry and are advised to follow due process in law, rather than resorting to self-help. The Police will not fold its arms and allow any act of omission that could threaten the peace being enjoined in the state.”

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