Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr), a Junior Secondary School two student at Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, would have turned 12 today if not for his untimely and gruesome death earlier in the week.
Despite his tragic death on Tuesday, his family plan to celebrate his birthday posthumously.
“We will celebrate his birthday on the 4th of December (today). Please, tell Nigerians to join us,” Sylvester junior’s bereaved father, Sylvester Oromoni, said on Thursday; with his voice steeped in grief.
This comes after the Lagos State Government closed the school until further notice on Friday to allow the police to conduct thorough investigations into the circumstances surrounding the teenager’s death.
Following a social media post by his cousin, Perry Oromoni, alleging that he was beaten up by some senior students at the college for refusing to join a cult, word of his death spread quickly on Wednesday.
Sylvester Snr said his late son had complained three months prior about being bullied by one of the senior students.
He went on to say that he had sent his older son to inform the school authorities about the problem and that he had been assured that it would be resolved.
The father said, “Two Sundays ago, we got a call that the boy was hospitalised and had injuries in the legs while playing football with his mates. I sent his guardian to go and pick him up but when he got there he said my son complained of pains all over his body, including his stomach. He kept on complaining but didn’t talk when asked what happened. We saw the fear in him but he refused to talk.”
The guardian – his eldest son – who picked up Sylvester Jnr called to inform him that his condition was critical, according to the father.
He said, “Last week, I went to Lagos to bring him to Warri (Delta State). I flew from Asaba to Lagos. Since this thing happened till he died on Tuesday, he could not sleep throughout the night. He would be complaining of pains in his chest and legs. We did a test and tried to massage his legs. There was no dislocation or fracture; it was his ankle, waist, stomach and thighs that were swollen and his mouth was peeling.
“On Monday, he told us that some senior pupils entered the hostel; five of them – four in SS2 and one in SS1. He said he was on his bed and they entered the hostel and flogged him with a belt. He said he fell from the bed and they kicked him and trampled on his body. I asked why he didn’t tell us all this while but he said he was scared because the seniors had threatened to kill his roommates if any of them revealed what happened. He said the boys told him to lie that he fell while playing with other pupils.”
According to Sylvester, a doctor said the boy had “liver enlargement and that congealed blood had gathered by the side of the liver” after a scan.
Sylvester Jnr was seen writhing in agony and moaning to every move and touch to his legs and back in video clips seen making the rounds.
His ankles were swollen, and blood was caked on his dried lips. As he was escorted to the laboratory and the convenience, he could barely walk.
Our thoughts and prayers at Ijaw News are with the Sylvester Oromoni family at what is a devastating moment for both the family and Nigeria at large.