Oromoni’s Death: More Parents Withdraw Children From Dowen College As School’s Closure Persists

This comes as an order for the indefinite closure of the school by the Lagos State Government remains in place more than two months after that directive was given.

“SaharaReporters reports that a growing number of students of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, are being withdrawn from the school by their parents.

This comes as an order for the indefinite closure of the school by the Lagos State Government remains in place more than two months after that directive was given.

The college was ordered closed on December 3, 2021, following the death of a 12-year-old pupil, Sylvester Oromoni, in controversial circumstances on November 30, 2021.

The junior secondary school pupil was said to have been assaulted by bullies in the college and allegedly forcibly fed an unknown liquid substance, which affected his health and eventually led to his death.

The development sparked outrage across Nigeria with various groups including parents of Dowen students embarking on protests to demand justice for the late Oromoni.

While the college remains closed, parents, concerned about the future of their children, have been withdrawing their wards and enrolling them in other schools.

Some of the parents, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, disclosed that they had to act to save the children from further falling behind in their studies.

“We waited for close to two months to see if the issues on the ground will be resolved and the school reopened for learning before deciding to pull out our kids.

“My wife and I strongly feel that there is no need to continue to keep the children at home when they could equally get quality education elsewhere.

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“The fact that we waited this long to withdraw our children from Dowen shows how much confidence we have in the school but in the face of present reality, we had to act for the sake of the kids’ future,” a former executive member of the parents’ association of Dowen College said on Tuesday morning.

Another parent, who also spoke with SaharaReporters over the subject and asked not to be named, disclosed that his son has also been withdrawn from Dowen and enrolled somewhere else.

“My son no longer attends Dowen; I removed him there in early February after waiting tirelessly for the reopening of the school.

“I am glad I took that decision because keeping him at home will do more harm than good to him. He needs to be back in the classroom and continue his development as a boy.

“I got information from a parents’ forum that more people were removing their children from the school due to the situation. I am part of that group now because my son is an ex-student of Dowen,” the middle-aged man said.

Two other parents, who spoke to our correspondent about the issue on Tuesday, disclosed that many of them were withdrawing their children from the school over fear of the kids’ safety.

According to them, bullying among students was a known menace but the management of the college had failed to tackle the situation.

“Students are being bullied by colleagues in that school and the management has not fully been able to address this situation.

“After Sylvester’s (Oromoni) case, some of us decided that it was time to act to save our kids. I had two children in that school and I have withdrawn them. Other parents are doing the same,” a female parent said.

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In February 2022, a document seen by SaharaReporters revealed how the Lagos State Police Command protested against the bail granted to five Dowen College students detained over the death of Oromoni.

The students are Michael Kashamu; one of the sons of the late politician, Senator Buruji Kashamu, Kenneth Inyang, Favour Benjamin, Ansel Temile and Edward Begue.

Michael and other boys had earlier been suspended by the school for bullying, according to the document.

A Chief Magistrates’ court in Yaba, Lagos, had on December 21, 2021, granted the students bail after a conspiracy and homicide charge was filed against them by the police.

Condemning the development in a letter signed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Fayoade Adegoke, the Lagos Police Command said, “This act is capable of attracting negative reactions from the members of the public and painting the police and judiciary as key agents of the criminal justice systems not committed to ensuring that justice is served transparently.

“It is my humble request that in view of this, the bail already granted should be revoked immediately and the boys be returned to the remand home pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation.” 

While the matter is yet to be concluded and the family of the late Oromoni continues to demand justice over his death, parents are going ahead to seek education for the children in other schools.

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