Coroner’s inquest watched traumatic last days of Sylvester Oromoni on video

Ogunsakin Mustapha
16 Min Read
late Sylvester Oromoni

The Coroner’s Inquest into circumstances that surrounded the death  of 12 years old Sylvester Oromoni on Monday watched the video of the pains and trauma the Dowen College student went through before his eventual demise. The videos, three in all, drew tears and emotions from all that were present even as the court maintained a pin drop silence.

Before the videos were tendered before the coroner, the senior sister to the deceased who was also a student of Dowen College, Amanda Elohor Oromoni narrated to the coroner how her brother was bullied to submission and fear and how she reported the incidents to the teachers but no action was taken against the bullies. 

However, the Coroner, Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri directed journalists to leave the court because Amanda is a 13 year old minor and the court is duty bound to protect her. however got the 40 paragraph affidavit she deposed  to, and was filed before the coroner where she narrated her experience on the matter.

In the affidavit, Amanda narrated thus:

“On the day we took our unified test result which was our open day and vacated for the mid-term break in October 2021, Favour Benjamin approached me and informed me that my late younger brother, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr told him and others in their room that he had seen my nakedness;

As a result of this statement I became angry and started yelling at my late brother and I broke down and started crying before two of my friends, Olivia and Chisom. They cheered me up and advised me to stop crying;

While my friends were trying to make me feel happy, one Sadiq (a prefect) in the school who incidentally observed that I was crying came to ask me what happened and I related the same to him;

Based on what I told Sadiq, he called my late brother and was talking to him when I left for the cafeteria for lunch;

When I returned, I saw my brother writing something on a piece of paper and I asked Sadiq what was going on and Sadiq replied that I should ask my brother; It was then my brother made me know and understand that he had to tell Favour Benjamin, Joseph Aisagbonhi and Babatunde Brodiemends that he had seen my nakedness; My brother said he had to say so, so that they could stop beating, bullying and flogging him;

 Sadiq directed my late brother to write a statement about this so that he could hand it over to Mr. Adeyemi. After the statement was written and given to Sadiq, I did not follow Sadiq to Mr. Adeyemi’s office to really confirm whether the written statement was handed to him or not;

Afterwards, we went to the hostel waiting for our elder brother Keyness Oromoni to come and pick us up for the Midterm break. While waiting, my elder sister who just graduated from school called me via telephone to say my elder brother’s wife was coming to pick us up;

While conversing with my sister I told her everything and my late younger brother was queried but eventually they were made to understand that he said so because of the bully, pressure and beating he received from Favour Benjamin, Joseph Aisagbonhi and Babatunde Brodiemends;

My elder brother was very upset and made plans to visit the school because of this issue but I told him that the school had already suspended the boys because one of the boys called Joseph Aisagbonhi came to apologize and said that they were just joking while Favour Benjamin just asked that question;

Since Favour Benjamin came to apologize and Sadiq had told them that he would give the statement to Mr. Adeyemi, I concluded that the boys were actually being punished as even during the midterm break Benjamin Favour kept calling my phone and apologizing to avoid trouble. He even wished I could speak to my parents on their behalf;

On Sunday we went back to the hostel and my elder sister Anita Oromoni requested a change of room for my late brother. This step or request was made because my brother as of then who was a JSS2 student, was occupying a room with four SSS 1 and JSS 3 students;

While in school I noticed that the boys were still in school and I concluded that I should observe it for a week whether the boys would get another punishment other than suspension. On Saturday I saw Mr. Adeyemi who came to visit my hostel so I used that opportunity to ask Mr. Adeyemi if he received any statement from Sadiq and he said Sadiq did not give him any statement about the issue concerning Benjamin Favour, Joseph Aisagbohi and Babatunde Brodiemends;

So I narrated everything to Mr. Adeyemi, who got angry over the incident, asked me to see him on Monday in his office to give a formal report via a written statement. As I was conversing with Mr. Adeyemi, Mrs. Celine heard our conversation and asked me what happened and I narrated everything to her. Mrs. Celine asked me to call my brother for her  which I did and as I was crying I asked my brother whether they did anything to him for reporting them and he said that they told his friends to stop talking to him because he is a snitch but his friends did not do that to him;

Mrs. Celine called Favour Benjamin to confirm the true position of things. As he could not deny Mrs. Celine asked him to go as she said she would call her when she was with Mr. Valentine. Afterward Mrs. Celine took me to the boys’ hostel cafeteria to see Mr. Valentine and asked me to tell Mr. Valentine what had transpired between me and Favour Benjamin and I. While narrating to Mr. Valentine he tried to blame me by asking me how Benjamin Favour got my number and I answered him but he still kept blaming me that I was part of the problem for having a social media account at my age through which Favour Benjamin got my contact and started pleading for forgiveness. As a result of the comment I told Mr. Valentine that I was only concerned about my brother for what they did to him and he is still in the same hostel with them particularly after the boys lied against him, flogged him and forced him to say what he never wanted to say;

 Consequently, Mr. Valentine and Mrs. Celine asked me to write a statement, including my late brother and Favour Benjamin.However I cannot really say whether they actually wrote their statement as I only wrote mine and gave it to Mrs. Celine and requested to speak to my parents specifically my dad but they did not allow me access to do that; Mrs. Celine told me specifically that she would not allow me to do that by calling my parents. As students became aware of the matter they started calling me names which made me cry. Thereafter, I used the phone of a student in my hostel to call my sister who encouraged me to be focused on my studies and not what people were saying about me;

On Monday while I was at the cafeteria to take my lunch I saw Mr. Adeyemi who asked me why I did not come to him during lunch break I replied him that Mrs. Celine said she would come with my statement and the statement of Favour Benjamin, my brother and Mr. Valentine to his office hence I was waiting for them. I waited endlessly as neither Mrs. Celine nor any of them talked about it again but my request for my late brother’s change of room was granted;

I however thought Mrs. Celine forgot about the matter but she kept on asking me whenever we came across each other whether I had forgiven Favour Benajmin and when I said no she would plead with me to forgive him. At that point I became worried for my late brother each time I saw my him and asked him if he was fine he would say yes but eventually he said the boys told him that they would do to him what they did to Wesley;

Wesley was beaten up after some students turned off the light and this was exactly what happened to my late brother after they turned off the light. The Wesley issue was in the Public domain hence he even left the school finally. Wesley’s conversation with me on instagram as to this issue has been printed out and handed to the police from Panti Police Station Yaba Lagos State.

I actually thought the boys were suspended because when Joseph Aisagbonhi came to apologize, he was flaunting a paper in his hand which I felt was a suspension letter but I later discovered it was not. Even when I later discovered that they were not suspended and I eventually wanted to call my parents, Mrs Celine did not allow me to call them”. 

Later at the proceedings, those in court watched in horror the sheer pains that the 12 year old went through. The video evidence was tendered while Sylvester Oromoni Senior, father of the late Oromoni junior testified before the coroner.

Oromoni  senior  in his testimony led by his counsel to the Oromoni’s, Mr. Andrew Efole, narrated to court how he called the deceased schoolmate that stayed in the same hostel with him.

Efole therefore tendered a flash drive containing two audio conversations of Oromoni father with the school mate and a video clip together with various documents which was tendered and admitted as exhibits. In the video, he could not walk by himself nor could he stand. He was writhing in pain as he was carried like a baby, supported by two people. Later in the video, he was shown wearing only yellow boxers. He cried out as he was touched, saying ” I am serious, it’s hurting me, don’t touch me.

The court was in total silence, Sylvester Senior, his father could not contain himself as water dropped from his eyes. He was not alone. Other people in the courtroom wept silently.

Earlier before the video was played, Mr. Godwin Omoaka (SAN) told court that they are seeing the documents for the first time. He said that “the defence counsel did not furnish the other parties with the documents. He also had videos to tender through this witness but we have not had the privilege to view them. I pray that it is appropriate that we see this video and watch, otherwise we won’t be able to cross examine the witness;

 “While we do not object to their admissibility, we asked that the video be played in the open court before we begin to examine the witness otherwise we would be grooving around.”

Also, the counsel representing the school, Anthony Kpokpo told court that Efole ought to have furnished the other side the documents before the proceedings. 

“The inescapable conclusion when you do otherwise is that you intend to ambush the other side. My initial thought was to object because the documents were not referred to in the statement on oath but nonetheless, so that the proceedings would not be delayed. 

“We do not mind the documents coming in but we applied that the videos which we can not see like written documents on paper be played before the court admits them into evidence and the photograph be displayed for all to see.”

So also, Mr. Akin George, Deputy Director, Ministry of Justice told court that they made the documents available before now but they don’t have the videos and the box sought to be tender. 

“We have come a long way and we are too smart to be trapped with that cheap trick. This court has been up and doing, there is need for us to get value for every time that we assemble in this court.”

He therefore submitted that rather than adjourned, the court should get value by watching the videos. However,  audio of conversation between Oromoni father and father of a JSS 3 student of Dowen college, another audio conversation of the deceased father with a male student was played.

Before Magistrate Kadiri adjourned  further hearing, Efole complained that O.C legal, Yetunde Cardoso was not cooperating to give them the file as requested. His submission was corroborated by Kpokpo who said she is a stumbling block.

The state counsel therefore told court that their two witnesses are ready to give evidence today as court adjourned proceedings to February 8, 2022.

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