On the 30th of November, the Dowen College family was informed we had lost one of our own: Sylvester Oromoni. Sylvester was the fourth of his family to attend Dowen College and this loss came as a shock to the entire school community. Unfortunately, before we could grasp and process the reality of losing him, the school was met with a public outburst accusing five of our students of bullying, poisoning and cultism.
The authorities directed that an autopsy be conducted and the report reveals that there was no bodily harm, no intoxication, but rather that the young boy suffered and died of pre-existing health conditions that had not been treated.
As it is clearly stated in the Autopsy report dated 4th January 2022 and released by the Commissioner of the Nigerian Police:
After carefully considering the facts available in the duplicate case file, more particularly the interim and final Autopsy Reports issued by Lagos State University Teaching Hospital dated 21t and 31 December 2021 respectively, Report of Medical Practitioner issued by Central Hospital Warri dated 30th December 2021 and Toxicology Report of Post Mortem samples dated 24th December, 2021 carried out on Late Sylvester Oromoni “Deceased” which revealed the cause of death as Septicaemia, Lobar Pneumonia with Acute Pyelonephritis, Pyomyositis of the right ankle and Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe sepsis, his office is of the view that there is no prima facie case of Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter and or Malicious Administering of Poison with Intent to Harm…
Our longstanding integrity, values and processes that we have worked tirelessly to maintain over the past 24 years have been called into question and dragged through the mud. Today the truth wins, our faith wins and our integrity wins. We pray that no school or organization ever has to experience what we have been going through.
We have maintained in our hearts and minds that compassion must override the instinct to defend ourselves, despite being tried viciously in the court of public opinion and social media. Our focus has been to work with the authorities in uncovering the whole truth regarding this matter and that is where our efforts have been.
In the course of submitting ourselves to the investigations of the authorities, we have also kept silent and not assigned any blame to the accused children because we believe we must let the experts do their job and that they remain innocent until proven guilty especially since our own preliminary investigations did not reveal their complicity in any untoward conduct.
The facts of this unfortunate tragedy remain that:
- The only injury brought to the notice of the School was the fall while playing football over the weekend as narrated by his friends, roommates and classmates and later investigated by the police.
- Two of the boys mentioned are day students with no connections to the hostel.
- A third boy mentioned was a regular weekly boarder who went home each weekend for home tutoring. He was not in the hostel over the weekend.
- Slyvester did not leave with any visible body injuries from the school contrary to what was showcased on social media. Had that been the case we know the guardian would have raised an alarm when he came to pick him up and the parents would have called the school immediately to complain.
- No issue was raised about his health until seven days after he was collected from school.
- A follow up call to the family while he was at home revealed his leg was being massaged, nothing else.
We are a faith-based school with a good academic record and values. Dowen College is a school that thrives on giving back through scholarships. We have over 10% of our students on various scholarships covering 100% full tuition and boarding scholarships. As many students as meet up with merit standards each year enjoy full tuition scholarships. Therefore, rewarding excellence is the focus.
The results have now been released by the various authorities. The police investigations uncovered nothing to support that Slyvester was bullied or suffered harm. We do not know under what circumstances the accused names were mentioned. We have no response to that. We can only go by what the experts and the authorities have uncovered and reported.
The autopsy report which is the product of the work of seven of the leading Pathologists in Nigeria, including one representing the Oromoni family from Delta State has shown that Sylvester had several chronic pre-existing health conditions. These health conditions cannot be fabricated or doctored. If there were contributory injuries from any bodily harm they would have been presented and stated. Dowen College is not covering up anything for any student or family.
We seize this opportunity to publicly thank all our parents, staff, students, alumni and friends of the school for their unflinching partnership, encouragement, prayers and advice through this whole situation. You have made us very proud and we are humbled by your support.
Moving forward, the Dowen College family realizes from the events of the last few weeks that it cannot take anything for granted. We need to work with our partners and stakeholders to strengthen our policies, processes and relationships.
At this point, we respectfully request that ALL those who have consistently, misguidedly and maliciously pushed false information should cease and desist immediately and allow our dear Sylvester’s soul to rest peacefully in our Lord’s arms.
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