Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sylvester Oromoni: Journalists, public barred from inquest

Counsel to the Nigerian Bar Association had argued that “a minor needs to be protected from undue publicity”.

• February 7, 2022
Late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr
Late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr

Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri on Monday barred journalists and the public from proceedings of an Ikeja Coroner’s Court unraveling the circumstances surrounding the death of Sylvester Oromoni, a student of Dowen College, Lagos.

Mr Kadiri gave the order on the basis that the deceased’s sister, a minor, was slated to testify. The minor came with her father, Sylvester Oromoni Snr, who was also slated to testify.

Invoking Section 191 of the Child Rights Law of Lagos State, the Coroner said “Proceedings will be held privately. Members of the press and the general public are hereby excused.”

Earlier, when the minor entered the witness box, counsel to the Nigerian Bar Association, Bernard Oniga, requested that the press and the public leave the court.

“A minor needs to be protected from undue publicity or the process of labelling as well information that may lead to identification.

“This matter has been highly sensationalised. Any minor that so wishes to appear before it must be accorded some level of privacy because she still has a future ahead,” he said.

Godwin Omoaka, counsel to one of the accused students of Dowen College, agreed with Oniga’s submission.

Controversies had trailed the circumstances surrounding the death of the 12-year-old student who died on November 30, 2021, from injuries sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for allegedly refusing to join a cult.

It was also alleged that he was forced to drink an obnoxious substance by his attackers.

On January 4, the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions’ advice, however, stated that the cause of Oromoni’s death was acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.


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