The family of Sylvester Oromoni has kicked against a statement attributed to Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, implying that the first autopsy on their deceased son was not witnessed by the police.
Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr), a student of Dowen College Lagos, died last November after efforts to save his life failed.
The 12-year-old boy was alleged to have been attacked by five of his senior colleagues for refusing to join a cult.
Oromoni’s father had alleged that his child was beaten and fed a liquid chemical that eventually claimed his life.
But Dowen College had dismissed the claim, saying the boy sustained injuries while playing football with his colleagues.
The Lagos CP had thereafter ordered a probe into Oromoni’s death while Dowen College was sealed off.
Two autopsies were conducted on the deceased, one by the Delta police and the second by the force’s Lagos command.
The first autopsy, as reported, established that Oromoni died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication.”
A copy of the Delta autopsy — now available to the public — bore the stamp of the police area commander in Warri.
The post mortem listed an investigating police officer (IPO) named Tije Augustine among its witnesses.
But a report dated January 2 quoted Odumosu as saying that the Delta autopsy was not witnessed by the police.
Efforts to reach Odumosu for clarification via texts and calls proved abortive as the CP hung up on this reporter.
Calls and texts put to Adekunle Ajisebutu, the Lagos police PRO, by TheCable Lifestyle were met with no response.
We never hired a private pathologist, bereaved father says
The father of the deceased, however, debunked the claim that only the family witnessed the post mortem.
“It’s not possible. The first autopsy was conducted by the police too. There’s a police area command stamp on it. Our family doesn’t have a pathologist,” the bereaved said in a phone conversation.
“It was the police that carried out a coroner’s inquest and called on the pathologist to do the autopsy. We didn’t even have a copy as of when the autopsy results came out. They sent it to the Lagos police first.
“After three days, I asked that the family gets a copy. We were told to apply through our lawyer before the assistant CP gave us a copy. That was why he stamped all the pages. Who on earth will say it’s not authentic?
“It wasn’t the family that did it. The Delta police did. The family relied on it since he came to our home in Warri.”
In the viral report, Odumosu was quoted as citing the alleged lack of police presence as the reason he, alongside the Alkali Usman Baba, inspector-general of police, resolved to have a second post mortem carried out in Lagos.
‘What were they discussing?’ — Oromoni faults lead-up to Lagos autopsy
Oromoni lamented that the police met with the pathologists for eight hours before allowing the procedure to begin.
“The second autopsy the Lagos police did, the person who did it went to Lagos. Being the first to open up the boy’s body, he’s meant to be present. When they went there on December 13, they had a meeting from 8 am till 4 pm,” he said.
“What were they discussing? They were with this same guy from Warri and all the pathologists, meeting for eight hours before they came out at 4 pm to attend to the body of the boy. They were there until 9 pm.
“The police came to Warri on the 12, took the body to Lagos on the 13th. By the 14th, they were supposed to carry out the autopsy in the morning as the pathologist went the night before. They released the boy on December 21.
“The pathologist came from the police in Delta, so we assumed he was to represent us. We had no pathologist. We don’t know him. The police did everything. The area commander, the assistant CP stamped all the pages.
“If they say it’s not authentic, which one is? The one they held an eight-hour meeting before carrying out?”
Lagos CP not being straight with death probe, father alleges
Odumosu had said the police ended its probe and received a response from the directorate of public prosecutions (DPP). He had argued that none of the findings indicated the school and the accused colleagues of the deceased.
In response, Oromoni faulted the autopsy conducted by the police in Lagos as used in the probe. He claimed it was not done in the presence of Clement Vhriterhire, the consultant pathologist who carried out the first post mortem.
“The next day, the Delta pathologist returned from Lagos. So he wasn’t even there when the autopsy was carried out, even though the procedure is supposed to be done in his presence under the law.” the bereaved argued.
“How can the commissioner of police be speaking for the doctor? You said the boys were neither medically nor legally indicted. The same CP told me on the 21st that he wasn’t aware the magistrate in Yaba court granted the boys bail.
“The CP confirmed to me that they weren’t done with their investigation. I called the DCP, in Panti, who confirmed the release despite the investigation still being ongoing. They had just started taking statements and weren’t done.
“He said they were going to write the attorney general to make sure they bring the boys back to complete the investigation. The next day, 22 (Wednesday) when I quoted the police to reveal available facts.
“The weekend was Christmas. Monday and Tuesday were public holidays. So at what point did they send those boys back to finish investigations or take the statements of the parents, the boys, the school, and the family to the DPP?
“What time did the DPP have to deliberate on the facts and then reply to the police as claimed by the CP? Was it during the holiday? During the weekend? In the night? What are we talking about?”
Dowen to remain shut as Lagos schools resume for 2022
Oromoni further argued that only the courts have the right to exonerate the accused on the death of his son.
The father of 10 vowed not to bury his deceased boy until justice is served, no matter how long the case takes.
He said officials of the Lagos government assured that Dowen College would stay shut until the case is solved.
Earlier, a Lagos magistrate court granted bail to five students charged with the alleged murder of the dead boy.
The police also released a housemaster and other Dowen staff, saying the court order to detain them had elapsed.