Facts emerged on Tuesday that there had been reported cases of bullying at Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, before the one that led to the death of the 12 year old pupil, Sylvester Oromoni. The principal, Mrs. Adebisi Layiwola admitted this before the Lagos State Coroner, Mikhail Kadiri.
While under cross examination by the lawyer to the Oromoni family, Femi Falana SAN, Mrs Layiwola who was under oath, also adopted her witness statement dated January 31, 2022. She admitted that there is bullying in the school and that some students have been suspended in the school and others expelled. Upon being asked again whether she is aware that one of the supposed expelled students is still a student in the school whose name is Micheal Nwoye, she said she is not aware.
The role played by Benjamin Favour, one of the students who allegedly brutalized Oromoni also came to the fore. Favour was the pupil who allegedly asked the deceased to describe his elder sister’s private part. Mrs Layiwola admitted that it was a serious matter. However, under cross examination by A.A George from Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs Layiwola explained further that it was recommended that Benjamin Favour be given two weeks internal suspension and made to apologize to the deceased and his sister. The Principal also explained further that those students who bullied Gbogwa were expelled from the school.
But more startling is the admittance that the school did not have a Parents Teachers Association(PTA), a statutory association of teachers and parents, where issues that concern the school are discussed every term. In its place, the principal said the school has a Parents Forum.
Falana also confronted her with the contradiction in her statement to the police dated December 2, 2021where she said the deceased had leg injury and in her witness statement at paragraph 5 she said pains in right hip. She admitted further that it was the medical doctor who told her it was hip pain.
When also asked if she is aware that the school doctor Bisiriyu Mojisola is a full time employee of Dowen College she responded by saying she works Mondays to Fridays. When further asked if she is aware that the said doctor is a full time staff of America Hospital she said she doesn’t know. A document to show that the said doctor is a staff of the American Hospital was shown to her and was admitted as exhibit.
So also when further asked if she is aware that the School Board of Dowen College has been dissolved, she denied the same and a document to disprove her was equally shown to her and was admitted as exhibit. These said two documents were admitted after the court’s ruling to the effect that the documents are relevant upon objection by the school counsel, Anthony Kpokpo and two other counsel who aligned themselves with the objection of the said Anthony Kpokpo.
Being a fact finding panel, the court on its own asked the principal if she would be surprised that a student said no punishment was meted out to the student involved in the case of the deceased sister and the principal replied it is possible.
Under cross examination by Ohandiwa Izuchukwu, counsel to one of the defendants, the principal admitted that it was actually Benjamin Favour who told the sister of the deceased that the deceased had seen her nudity. It was this same Benjamin Favour who asked the deceased to describe his sister’s private part.
The Coroner, Magistrate Kadiri adjourned further proceedings till Monday next week.