Two years after his tragic death, a 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos State, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, has now been laid to rest.
The remains of the Ijaw-born Sylvester were committed to mother earth on Saturday, January 27, 2024, at the family’s compound located at Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
At the funeral, which was attended by a mammoth crowd including human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), friends and colleagues from the school, the representatives of the management of Dowen College were conspicuously absent.
Oromoni’s corpse was conveyed from the Central Hospital, Warri through a motorcade to Ogbe-Ijoh waterside, Warri, where it was ferried through a boat ride to Ogbe-Ijoh town. A solemn church service was held in his honour before he was finally laid to rest in his father’s compound in the town.
It will be recalled that Oromoni Jr died on November 30, 2021, after his health deteriorated following an alleged torture by some senior students of the school.
During a chat with journalists, the father of the deceased, Sylvester Oromoni Snr, said that his family was still determined to seek justice for their son.
He maintained that even if it takes him decades, he would wait for justice to be done over his son’s death.
According to him, the family chose to bury the boy because he had received a record of the court’s proceedings.
He said that regardless of the outcome of the coroner inquest, “I will continue from there. After reviewing the evidence presented, I am satisfied that there was no foul play involved.”
While admitting that there has been delay in burying the young boy, he said that he was not bothered because he had already committed to fighting for justice for his son for 30 years.
“It has only been two years and two months, so I do not consider it a delay as long as the authorities are doing the right thing,” he affirmed.
He stressed that his decision to proceed with the coroner inquest was not only for his son but also to inspire others to fight for justice in similar incidences and to serve as a deterrent to others.
He said: “I am not doing this because of my son alone because even if I cry from now till tomorrow he will not come back, but I am taking this sacrifice path for others that they must fight for justice when such ugly incident happens and to also serve as a deterrent.”
Speaking at the burial, Falana paid glowing tributes to Sylvester Oromoni Jr., describing him as a great Nigerian whose life was tragically cut short at its prime.
Falana emphasised the significance of Sylvester’s impactful life, which, he averred, touched the lives of his teachers, friends, and fellow students.
He urged everyone to reflect on their own legacies and questioned what they would be remembered for after their lifetime on earth.
“From what we have all heard about the young boy, he lived a fulfilled life. He impacted on his friends and society and colleagues in school.
“I think for all of us here certain lessons have been learned today. One of which is that we must try and live a life that must be useful to our society.
“So, we’re not here to mourn but to honour the deceased in solidarity with the parents who are bereaved,” he said.
Falana commended Sylvester’s parents for their unwavering pursuit of justice for their son, maintaining that it was uncommon for elders to attend the burial of young ones in Yoruba culture, but expressed gratitude for being invited by Sylvester’s family to honour his memory.
“One thing we have learnt from the family is that, it is not just for you to declare the loss of your son but also to insist on knowing the cause of the death of your son, not to bring back your son but to ensure that it doesn’t happen to the children of other people which for us is a huge sacrifice. So, we’re delighted to be here though for us it is with mixed feelings,” he noted.
He assured that the quest for justice would continue, as the coroner’s findings were expected to be released come April.
The legal luminary urged all parents not to accept the unfortunate deaths of their children as God’s will, but instead to investigate the causes to prevent similar tragedies in the future, affirming that justice may be slow, but it would ultimately prevail.
Falana said: “The struggle for justice continues. Between now and April, the coroner that conducted the inquest will come out with its findings and we’re very sure that justice will be done. And it is also a lesson for all parents not to regard unfortunate death of children as God made but take the opportunity to investigate the cause of death of young ones so that such event doesn’t continue or occur in the society again. Justice grinds slowly but eventually justice will be done.”