The hashtag #JusticeForSylvester has been trending on Twitter in Nigeria over the controversial death of a boy in Lagos on November 30. The boy, named Sylvester Oromoni, was a student at Dowen College located in the Lekki area of Lagos.
The school had said Sylvester died as a result of injuries sustained while playing football, but his father Sylvester Oromoni Snr told the BBC that the boy was beaten up after refusing to join a “cult group”. The boy’s cousin had on Twitter also alleged that five boys chased Sylvester, locked him in his hostel and gave him a chemical to drink.
The father has asked the teachers and other officials of the school to explain the death of his son, whose 12th birthday was on Saturday. The school has said in a statement that “preliminary investigation showed there was no fighting, bullying or any form of attack on the boy”.
But the hashtag by Nigerians including celebrities has sparked a response by the Lagos State Government which has ordered the indefinite closure of the school, pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of the boy. The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, has also directed the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, to take over the investigation of the case, the Punch reported.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Sunday released a statement alerting foreign missions to deny entry to the five students accused of beating Sylvester before his death.
“We equally call for the immediate arrest and interrogations of names of students mentioned in the attack that led to the eventual death of Sylvester irrespective of how highly placed their parents are. There must not be any sacred cow as all of them must be arrested, adequately interrogated, and charged if found culpable,” NANS said.
“NANS will follow this case religiously in our attempt to be the voice of the voiceless and ensure a level playing ground at the cause of the investigation irrespective of how influential and wealthy the families of the purported culprits are,” the statement added.
Sylvester’s death comes after Karen-Happuch Akpagher of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, died of sexual molestation in June 2021.