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Sylvester Oromoni’s death: Police interrogates 3 students of Dowen College

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Dowen College

FOLLOWING the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni, a student of Dowen College, Lekki in Lagos State, three students, suspected to have been involved in the alleged torture and beating for refusing to join a cult group, yesterday, visited the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID),  Panti, Yaba in Lagos for questioning.

Oromoni, Jnr died of complications last week as a result of injuries sustained from an attack by a group of five senior students for allegedly refusing to join a cult group in the school.

Recall that Adewale, son of the late Senator  Buruji Kashamu, alleged to be involved in the matter has denied his involvement.

Meanwhile, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, South-West Zone, yesterday, set up a fact-finding committee to look into the matter just as it vowed to take up the case and ensure that justice prevails.

This came as wife of the Lagos State governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu described the incident as heartbreaking.

Similarly, the Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, IMG, Mr. Joseph Evah faulted the failure of Dowen College owner to suspend the principal of the college before the commencement of police investigation as dangerous and unacceptable. 

Also, as a Lagos-based businesswoman, Nikky Ufondu, narrated how she withdrew her son, Henry Ufondu, from the College in 2013 following his repeated bullying by some senior students of the college.

Police interrogate 3 Dowen College students

Vanguard gathered, yesterday that the students were invited by the Divisional Police Officer of Maroko Police Station and later taken to the SCID for questioning over Sylvester’s death.

The students, who were interrogated at the SCID, it was gathered, were accompanied to the police station by their parents and lawyers.

School should tell the truth— Father

The father of late Sylvester Oromoni jnr, Mr Sylvester Oromoni, who spoke to the  Vanguard, yesterday in Warri, Delta State, said the closure of the school by the Lagos State government was the first step, adding  that the death of their son should bring an end to ugly situations in schools that could cause more lives of innocent children. 

Recalling sweet memories of his son, he said as the last child, Sylvester was very close to him, adding that he was like a teacher to him. 

His words: “My son was very close to me. He was my last child. He was also like a teacher to me. He would correct my grammar sometimes when I made mistakes in spelling or even spoken English. He was very brilliant. He would spend most times with me whenever I was at home and he was on holiday.

“I have stopped talking about the painful incident because whenever I do, it weighs me down. It is affecting me.

“I heard the school has been shut down. It is a good one and welcome development. Justice for my son is what we want. Let the school tell Nigerians the truth. 

“This incident should serve a lesson to failed parents that they cannot unleash their monsters on innocent children in boarding schools. The children behind this act, no matter their ages, should face the law. If they are minors, they should be sent to rehabs before the full glare of cameras as lessons for their failed parents.”

Family lawyer, Falana demands inquest

Also, the family of late Sylvester Oromoni, has hired human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, which has already written the Lagos State Chief Coroner, demanding an inquest in the death of young Sylvester.

The lette,r dated December 6, 2021, by Taiwo Olawale, reads: “Given the needless death of Sylvester Oromoni, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to cause a coroner’s inquest to be conducted into the cause of death of this young and promising boy and make appropriate recommendations pursuant to Section 15 of the Lagos State Coroner’s Law 2007 that states that an inquest shall hold whenever a coroner is informed that the death of a deceased person within his coroner district is as a result of a death in a violent, unnatural or suspicious situation.

“We, hereby, request your lordship to conduct an inquest into the circumstance surrounding this tragic death and Dowen College: Sylvester Oromoni’s family hire Femi Falana over his death are confident that your lordship will accede to our request with utmost urgency.”

Meanwhile,  a group led by Olumuyiwa Bankole will hold a peaceful walk on December 10, 2021, by 10a.m., at the Bar centre, Ikeja to demand justice for the late Sylvester.

  NANS sets up c’ttee, takes up case

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the Zonal Coordinator of NANS, Mr. Kappo Samuel, said that the committee that has been set up was in line with the directive of the national leadership of the association that the zonal body should step into the matter. 

He said: “The deceased was a student before he died and NANS is for the interest of all students and this matter must be pursued to a logical conclusion. A viral video shared by the family has shown how Sylvester was writhing in pain while bleeding from his mouth. His lips appeared swollen and his teeth looked broken.

“According to one of his relatives, the deceased mentioned the names of five persons who are also students of Dowen College, Lekki whom he said were allegedly responsible for his injuries before he finally died on Tuesday, 30th of November 2021.

“In their response to the student’s death, the Dowen College management in a statement claimed the deceased sustained injuries while playing football and was given immediate medical attention by the school’s medical personnel. The school denied that Sylvester had been bullied or attacked by some students in the school and said it had carried out a preliminary investigation, where its officials claimed that there was no case of bullying, adding that it has policies that are strongly anti-cultism.

“The deceased, according to his parents in media reports had also alleged that he was given a substance to drink by the ‘bullies’.

“The efforts by the school management are not enough. Concrete investigations must be done to discover what happened to Sylvester.

“It is on this premise that the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students South-West Zone, has recommended and submitted an 11-man investigating committee as requested by the national leadership of NANS and we expect that in due course the leadership will ratify and publish the names of the members of the committee.” 

Sylvester’s death heartbreaking — Sanwo-Olu’s wife

Also reacting to the incident, Mrs Sanwo-Olu has condoled with the Oromoni family over the death of their son.

Speaking during an advocacy visit to some schools in furtherance of the ongoing 16 Days of activism against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, GBV, Mrs Sanwo-Olu described the incident as “unfortunate,” saying “never again should it reoccur in the state.”

She said: “I am aware that the Lagos State Government is at the moment investigating the incident and honestly it is something we are not very happy about. It’s a big slap on the face of the education sector, the community, and Lagos State as a whole. 

“It is a case that is being investigated and for the parents and everybody involved, honestly, we commiserate with them and send our condolences.

“As I said, the case is being investigated and I will not be able to say much on it at the moment.”

 Evah faults non-suspension of Principal 

On his part, the Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, IMG, Mr. Joseph Evah, yesterday, faulted the failure of Dowen College owner to suspend the principal of the college before the commencement of police investigation as dangerous and unacceptable. 

Evah, in a statement, said: “The public will suspect foul play in this investigation if the principal remains as the head of the school without suspension by the school owner. This cannot happen in any sane society. Nigerians will not accept any cover-up in this global demand for justice for the late student. Nigerians demand a public apology from owners of Dowen College for keeping quiet for over a week in a matter that has painted school owners as inhuman and heartless.

“As an educationist with experience over the years, I know that in some schools, when a principal or any management staff wants to get a favour or fake relationship with some parents, they hide or cover up the crimes committed by children of such parents in the name of loyalty to the child’s parents, worsening the abnormal behaviour of the child in the society at large. In this case, we thank the Lagos state government for its intervention by asking the police to investigate but the credibility of the investigation demands the school owners suspend the principal in order not to interfere with the investigation. This is international standard all over the world because the police need some evidence and exhibits in the school that should not be tampered with within the course of their investigation.” 

Why I withdrew my son from Dowen College — Parent

Meanwhile, a Lagos-based businesswoman, Nikky Ufondu, has narrated how she withdrew her son, Henry Ufondu, from Dowen College in 2013 following his repeated bullying by some senior students of the college.

Ufondu said that her son, 10 years old at the time, in Junior Secondary School 1 of the college, was always assaulted and subjected to serve unnecessary punishments whenever he fails to produce whatever the accosting senior students requested.

She said: “Henry was 10 years old when he joined the school for JSS classes in 2013, his provision gets finished fast and would request for another set, and since he was scared to ask me directly, he will rather complain to his school mother of not having provision anymore.

“This case happened countless times. Even when I had just visited him during visiting day and supplied him enough provisions and pocket money, just in less than a week, Henry would be asking for another set of provisions and money.

“I and his father started suspecting him because we knew something was not right. It took us weeks before our son was able to confess to us what he had been doing with his money and provisions. 

“Those senior boys have put fears in my son with threats to deal with him should he inform his parents or anybody in the school.

“I wouldn’t have bothered myself about the seizing of provision and pocket money from Henry but the poor boy informed me of what the senior boys have been doing to him. I had to confront all of them.”

Recall that the Kashamu family, in a statement by Mutairu Kashamu, said: “Since the news of the unfortunate incident broke, we have made our own private enquiries and carefully questioned our son about his involvement. This is why we did not rush out to respond to the cyber-stalking, name-calling, and negative commentaries that have taken over social media about our son’s alleged involvement in this sad incident.

“Our son, Adewale Michael Kashamu, had acted as a school father for the late Sylvester in his first session in the school at the request of Sylvester’s sister who is also a student of the school.

“However, in the 2021 session commencing in September 2021 Adewale Michael Kashamu was moved to a different floor in the boarding house, and engrossed in his own studies and activities, he was no longer as close to Sylvester as in the previous session.

“Adewale Michael Kashamu is a compassionate and considerate boy. Sometime last session, some boys had been accused of beating Sylvester with belts and seizing his foodstuff but Adewale Michael Kashamu was not involved at all. He was in fact in sympathy with Sylvester over that incident.

“On that occasion, Sylvester’s parents made a report to the school and the affected students were questioned and one of them at least was suspended.

“Adewale Kashamu is not aware that an identical incident occurred again this year leading to Sylvester’s injury and death.”

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West African leaders must collaborate to overcome common challenges – Buhari

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Buhari

ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday advocated renewed collaboration among West African leaders to overcome the myriad of common challenges, including state of insecurity facing the sub-region.

This is just as the President of Ghana and Chairman of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Nana Akufo-Addo, said only two per cent of the entire population of the subregion had been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic. President Buhari made the advocacy in his welcome address at the 60th Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, held at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He noted that the sub-region had, in recent times, managed to stay afloat amid a myriad of crises, which include the negative socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, state of insecurity, which has claimed many lives and left millions displaced.

The Nigerian leader, however, charged leaders of the region to be ready to deliberately work together in the task of finding solutions to the challenges, as a region.

“Our subregion continues to face socioeconomic, political, security, and environmental realities linked to Coronavirus pandemic. Our democracy is being challenged in Mali and Guinea. Furthermore, threats are looming around environmental degradation and climate change on our farming systems. We are facing a network of criminals, including terrorism.

“All of these challenges require our collective action to work in concert with each other to pragmatically address and provide our people better prospects in life. Today’s realities remind us of the need to continue to forge stronger solidarity in order to address the new challenges, including the current third wave of the pandemic and its Omicron variant.

“I am glad that the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States and the West Africa Health Organization are continuing to work with our respective national disease control centers to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on our people and subregion,” President Buhari said.

He, however, thanked the Ghanaian President and Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo, for providing the needed leadership to member states, as they mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

In his opening remarks, President Akufo-Addostre-ssed the need for the subregion to take local production of COVID-19 vaccines more seriously, pointing out that with all the efforts so far made in the fight against the virus, only 2% of the population of the subregion had been completely vaccinated.

He said:   “As of 8th December, our region has recorded 674,556 cases of infections with some 10,000 deaths. This scourge has impacted our humanitarian, social and economic sectors, and it continues to rage with the emergence of a new variant and the risk of a new wave in our region.

“The new variant Omicron has already been found in three member states, and has led to unfortunate imposition of travel bans by some countries, which are unjustified and unacceptable. Meanwhile, the availability of vaccines continues to remain a problem. Despite our efforts, we have only 6% of our population receiving one dose, with 2% of the population fully vaccinated.

“Whilst we remain grateful for the support from friends of the community, we must continue to pursue national and regional efforts to fight COVID-19 and move rapidly into the domestic production of vaccines for the protection of our citizens and for the growth and development of our economy”.

The ECOWAS Chairman, also called for continued mobilization of troops for peace keeping in areas where peace is fragile, noted that all is being done to restore democratic governance in Mali and Guinea, where there were undemocratic change of power

Akufo-Addo restated ECOWAS’ resolve to promote good governance in West Africa, through the sustenance of democratic institutions.

“We continue to be faced with security trials in the forms of deadly terrorist and kidnapping attacks, particularly in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, causing numerous casualties amongst civilians and security forces, resulting in a significant number of displaced persons.

“Recent events in Burkina Faso are matters of the greatest concern. Increased coordination, however, on the part of coastal nations, have recently led to an improved maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Let me on behalf of the authority, condemn in the strongest terms, these attacks that continue to plague our region. Significant efforts are being made at both national and regional levels to fight terrorism and extremism.

“We must step up our efforts to deal with these tasks which will be imposed upon us and we must act in such a way that no one will doubt our resolve to protect our peoples and the peace and stability of our countries”, Akufo-Addo said.

He congratulated President Jose Neves of Cape Verde, who was attending the summit for the first time, as well as Adama Barrow of Gambia, who recently got re-elected.

In a goodwill message, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, represented by the Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Annadif Saleh, pledged more support for ECOWAS, as he sued for more cooperation among member States. 

Guterres commended Cape Verde and the Gambia, for holding peaceful Presidential elections recently.

In another goodwill message, the African Union represented by its Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Nigeria’s Bankole Adeoye, hailed ECOWAS for sustaining democracy in West Africa.

The AU pledged to continue to work closely with ECOWAS to ensure the promotion of good governance within the region.

The two-day summit was attended by Heads of State and government of all the member States, as well as Former Nigerian leader and ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, Goodluck Jonathan, and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Kassi Brou, among others.

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FG urged to re-visit matters of NDDC board

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Niger Delta Development Commission

A prominent northern leader, Alhaji Musa Saidu has again called for the urgent inauguration of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, saying the delay was generating tension in the region.

Alhaji Saidu who is the leader of Arewa in the South and former aide to Late Chief  Harold Dappa Biriye also lashed at some youths under the aegis of Niger Delta Progressives Movement, NDPM, who poured encomiums on the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio for launching a Strategic  Implementation Work Plan for his Ministry, dismissing them as political traders.

Saidu said it was unfortunate that some youths would come out at this time to shower praises on the Minister at a time the region was condemning his delay in constituting aboard for the NDDC.

“I am not sure they are Niger Delta youths. At a time the region is bitter over delay in constituting aboard for the NDDC some youths could come out to shower praises. This is wrong.  What we expect now is for all Niger Deltans and youths inclusive to be focused on agitating for a board for the commission and fixing the East-West road. “, he said.

“When these are done, achieved then you can call anyone a Messiah. But for now, these youths that came up with the statement under the name Niger Delta Progressives Movement, NDPM,  should bury their heads in shame. “, he said.

He said he had called for the sack of the Minister over the delay in inaugurating aboard for the commission and the deplorable state of the East-West road, adding that he had not changed his mind.

Alhaji Saidu said the Niger Delta is very dear to him because he had been actively involved in driving matters of development in the region, adding that he moved a motion for the north to support the creation of the NDDC at a gathering of prominent northerners at the Arewa House when he was national youth President of Arewa Youth Forum.

Continuing, he said as an aide to the late Harold Dappa Biriye, a Frontline leader of the Niger Delta, he accompanied the late sage to almost all meetings on matters of development of the region.

“And at meetings in the north  Chief Biriye will ask me to speak first on matters of the region on many occasions before he would wrap up. So you know and see my passion for the region”, he said.

Alhaji  Saidu further called for the implementation of recommendations of the Niger Delta Environmental Survey and several other recommendations on Niger Delta, stressing that sweeping them under the carpet was not a good one for any serious government.

“It is high time federal government visited recommendations on redressing challenges in the Niger Delta. There are several of them. There are the recommendations of the Niger Delta Environmental Survey and many others. They should give them attention so the area can enjoy development “, he said.

On the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator  Akpabio, he said he was calling again for his sack because of his failure to keep his promise to inaugurate aboard for the NDDC before August this year.

“We heard the  Minister when he visited stakeholders in Warri, Delta state that he was going to ensure aboard was in place before the end of July. But this has not come to be since. then. I still call for his sack. The East-West road is in shambles. The dry season is the time.to work but you see the situation. “, he said.

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Teni, Jaywon, others thrill fans as Funmi Ayinke launches album “The Journey”

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Teni

It was a superlative afternoon of kid’s glove reception, music and fun as fans and lovers of music were treated to heartwarming performances from Nigerian singers, Teniola Apata, popularly known as Teni, Iledare Oluwajuwonlo better known as Jaywon and others at Funmi Ayinke’s debut album “The Journey” on Sunday in Ikeja, Lagos.

The event witnessed the presence of some notable personalities like the former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Shina Peller, the publisher of Ovation International, Bashorun Dele Momodu, royal fathers and others who all took part in the launching of the 15-track album titled, The Journey.

The 16-track album features talented and multiple award-winning acts such as Tunde TDot of Styl Plus fame, popular comic act-cum-singer, Klint D Drunk, Magnito, and legendary singer, Chief Ebenezer Obey.

‘The Journey’ album according to the brains behind it features well-written and powerful compositions that are a strong source of motivation and inspiration to listeners, providing needed zest to those in a moment of darkness and hope for the downcast.

FunmiAyinke noted that all the 15 songs were carefully composed and written with the hope that they heal the mind, body, and soul of everyone that listens.

Speaking on the album, the multi-talented Funmi Ayinke, who also doubles as the founder of Funmi Ayinke Records and Funmi Ayinke Humanity Foundation (FHF), said the body of work was inspired by her desire to pass a strong message of hope and motivation to her listeners.

“I decided on the album after taking a deep reflection on how I can impact the larger society aside from what I do at the Funmi Ayinke Humanity Foundation (FHF). Then the inspiration to sing hit me. It was at the time that I decided to write the songs before hitting the studios to pour out my soul on the songs. The album is a mix of inspirational and soulful soft music that was well produced and mastered to delight my listeners,” she said.

On her choice of features on the album, Funmi Ayinke said, “I grew up listening to Chief Ebenezer Obey whose career has lasted multiple decades. It was a dream come through having him on a record that I intend to use to inspire a wider audience. I also featured established characters such as veteran gospel singers: Funmi Aragbaye, TDot, Magnito, and Klint D Drunk on the album.”

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