Witness Tells Coroner Oromoni Was Tortured By School Seniors.
Mr. Peter Odeworitse, the Operations Manager of KenBen Nig Ltd, which is owned by the late Sylvester Oromoni’s father, has told Epe, Lagos State coroner, Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri, that the deceased (Oromoni Junior) confessed to him that he was tortured by school seniors.
Odeworitse made the revelation during his testimony at a coroner’s inquest into the death of 11-year-old Sylvester, a student at Dowen College in Lagos State.
At the rescheduled hearing, Andrew Efole, counsel for the Oromoni family, led the witness, Odeworitse, through his testimony.
His sworn statement has already been presented to the court.
Mr. Oromoni (deceased’s father) called the family’s doctor, Aghogho Owhojede, to come and attend to his son upon their arrival in Warri, Delta State on November 26, 2021, and the boy was treated for malaria for three days, according to Odeworitse.
According to the witness, on November 29th, a scan and an X-ray were performed on the deceased in accordance with the doctor’s instructions, which revealed, among other things, that the boy had an enlarged liver.
While being cross-examined by Mr. Akin George and Mr. Seun Akinde of the Lagos State government, Odeworitse stated that the parents initially made arrangements with Dr. Owhojede to take their son to the Delta State Teaching Hospital, Oghara, for further treatment.
However, he added that on November 30th, he was taken to a Vicar Hospital, where he was said to have died that day.
Odeworitse further revealed that the late Sylvester and his mother had gone to their church for prayers on the 29th of November before the medical tests were carried out.
“They go to church every Monday for prayers. I saw him in the car upon their return, still in pain, he wasn’t that fit to go to church. I was the only one that went to meet him inside the car.
“I walked up to him in the car and asked the driver to excuse us. Sylvester Junior said five senior students assaulted and tortured him but he only mentioned three names in full (names withheld).
I went to tell his mother what her son told me and she was shocked.
“The mother was waiting for the doctor to take him for scan. When we returned, he was taken to his mother’s room to rest. Then his mother asked if I asked for the name of those that tortured him, in the presence of his mother, he mentioned three names,” Odeworitse explained.
When asked if he videoed or recorded where and when the deceased mentioned names to him, the witness stated that he did not.
He was also asked if he examined the boy’s body based on the information given to him by the deceased, and he said no.
During further cross examination, the witness was asked if he was aware that the late pupil might have been experiencing hallucinations or disorientation, which are reportedly among the symptoms of severe sepsis (a serious medical condition caused by the body’s response to an infection), which was found to be one of the causes of his death, according to the results of the autopsy performed on him in Lagos.
He claimed he was unaware of the situation.
Dowen College’s attorney, Anthony Kpokpo, cross-examined Odeworitse on how he obtained information from the deceased about the alleged torture by some senior students at his school.The witness testified in court that he did not inform his family doctor of the alleged torture.
He also claimed that, as he had already confessed, he recorded a video of the young boy on his way to the medical tests, and that it was the mother, Rosemary Oromoni, who instructed him to send the video to her son’s school to present the body pains he was experiencing.
When another counsel, Izuchukwu Ohajinwa, asked Odeworitse about the boy’s condition when he saw him, he said he was at the Oromonis’ Warri home when the deceased was brought in from Lagos.
When another lawyer, Imah Ayi-Ekpenyong, representing one of the alleged senior students, asked the witness if he was a civil servant, as stated in his police statement, a minor scuffle ensued. Odeworitse responded that the statement was written for him by a police officer.
“Because I was still in shock (after Sylvester’s death), I gave him all the information which he put down for me.”
The Ijaw Youth Council, Lagos Chapter, was represented at the hearing by Ayo Shabi of the chambers of Anthony George-Okoli (SAN), who was seeking to join the inquest.
The court stated that it would consider their request at its next meeting. Clifford Tejire, the first witness, testified that on November 23, 2021, he went to the deceased’s school, Dowen College, to pick him up after he allegedly sustained injuries while playing football.
He went on to say that even though Sylvester was in excruciating pains and his condition deteriorated while he was in his care in Lagos, the parents didn’t tell him to take the JSS 2 student to the hospital, but rather to bring him to Warri.