MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The Commissioner of Police in charge of the Lagos State Police Command; Hakeem Odumosun has maintained that Lagos Command on its part, had concluded investigation on the death of the 12-year old Junior Secondary School Two student and found the three House masters and five students earlier arrested in connection with his death, not culpable.
Giving an update to journalists at the Command’s Conference Hall on Friday, on the investigation into the demise of Sylvester, he recalled that a formal complaint was received on December 2, 2021 via a petition by V. O. Grant & Co, and signed by A.E Afole dated December 1, 2021.
He explained that “the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Maroko was immediately directed to carry out preliminary investigation into the incident, nothwithstanding that the incident was not reported at any police station.”
“Same day the petition was received, DPO Maroko commenced preliminary investigation by visiting Dowen Colleget on a fact-finding- mission. However, due to the seriousness of the incident and the police need to carry out diligent investigations, the State Criminal Investigation Department SCID, was directed by me to take over investigation of the case with immediate effect.
“In compliance with this directive, the SCID Panti, took over the case on December 10, 2021 and continued investigation in ernest. In the course of investigation, eight suspects were arrested. They included three house masters of the college and five students who were said to have been mentioned by the deceased before his death.
“The suspects who were student are: Ansel Temile,14; Michael Kashamu, 15; Kenneth Inyang , 15; Favour Benjamin,16 and Edward Begue,16.
While the house masters are: Valentine Igbokwe, 45; Ahmed Bariyu,52 and Adesaya Olusegun,42.
A remand warrant dated December 7,2021, was obtained at the Yaba Magistrate Court to enable the police detain the suspects for 21 days , in the first instance while investigation continued.
“On December 9, 2021, all the parties, including the deceased’s family, the school management and witnesses , were interviewed by me at the Command headquarters, Ikeja.
“During the open interview, it was unanimously agreed that another autopsy should be carried out where pathologists from all parties will be present. Investigation was extended to Delta State and Abuja.
I will like to state here that investigation revealed that same case was reported at the Area Command, Warri, Delta State, on December 1, 2021. It has also be established that a postmortem examination was initially carried out on December 2, 2022, by a consultant pathologist, Dr. Clement Vhriterhire, of the Central Hospital, Warri Delta.
“The result of the first autopsy dated December 10, 2021, attributed cause of death to acute lungs injury, due to chemical intoxication In a background of blunt force trauma.
“However, Toxicology screening was recommended and also carried out . While waiting for the result of Toxicology, another autopsy was ordered by the Corona Magistrate in Lagos because of the status of jurisdiction.
The corpse was therefore moved with armed police escort from Delta State to Lagos State by TOS funeral and the autopsy conducted at the expense of the Lagos State Government.”
The Commissioner said the second autopsy was Carried at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on December 14, 2021, in the presence of representatives of all the parties involved in the case. It was carried out by Dr. S.S Soyemi, the Consultant Pathologist and Chief Examiner , Department of Pathology and Forensic Sciences, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Ikeja.
“The autopsy was witnessed by the following persons: Dr. Uwon Eze, Consultant Pathologist , from UCH, repressing Timiles family; Dr. Badmus Kabiru, Consultant Pathologist from LUTH represented Dowen College; Dr. Nigwe Chikodili Isabila, Consultant Pathologist from Military Hospital , Yaba, represented Edward Brown, student of Dowen College; Dr Clement Vhriterhire, Consultant Pathologist who performed the first autopsy, represented family of the deceased; Dr. Musa Stephen Itopa, Consultant Pathologist, from UBTH, represented Kashamu Michael, student of Dowen College.
Others were Dr. F. E Emiogun, Consultant apathologist in LASUTH; Dr. O.O Kilauvie- Emegbo, Consultant Pathologist, LASUTH; Dr O.O Onayemi, Senior Registrar in LASUTH; Dr N. Salisu, Senior Registrar in autopsy posting in LASUTECH, Dr. AC China, Registrar from ABU, from autopsy posting in LASUTH; Dr. F. Emetomah,Registrar, CSP Radaw Oseni, from the Homicide section, represented the Nigeria Police Force , Lagos State Command; DSP Olusegun Bamidele also fromHomicide section, represented the Nigeria Police Force , LAGOS State Command, Sergeant Shola Adeniyi, Homicide section also represented the Lagos State Police Command.
“Before the expiration of 21-days remand order, families of the students applied for their bail at Magistrate Court 1, Yaba. The application was approved, hence the students who were earlier remanded at Boys Home, Oregun, were granted bail.
The House Masters were also granted bail after the expiration of the 21 days remand order. The result of second autopsy carired out in Lagos which was released on December 21,2021, attributed the cause of death to septicaemia , lobar pheumonia with acute pyelonephritis and phyomyositis of the right angle.
On December 30, 2021, the Toxicology Screening result of the first autopsy carried in Warri was released. The result issued and signed by Dr. Clement Vhriterhire, same Doctor who carried out the initial autopsy, attributed cause of death to acute bacteria pheumonia due to severe sepsis.
“At the end of diligent investigation carried out so far, there is no evidence to establish a case of torture , bullying and forceful application of poisonous substance against the suspects. All the suspects denied the allegations of torture, bullying and administering of poisonous substance to the deceased.
Odumosun said the allegation that the deceased was being forced to join a cult group was also not established, as other students interviewed denied this.
“The final result of the postmortem and Toxicology examination conducted both in Warri and Lagos, agreed that the deceased died a natural death.
“Our findings and the second autopsy include marked parlour of organs, pneumonia(infection of the lungs), infection of the liver and kidney as well as the heart. These infections emanated from the ankle infection described earlier in the report.
“Microscopic section also confirmed this finding that death was caused by septicaemia, following infections of the lungs and kidneys arising from the ankle wound.
No evidence of blunt false trauma in his body.
“The findings in the oseophagus and stomach are not compartible with chemical intoxication. Death in this case is natural.
“Despite these and the following legal proceedings, the case file was duplicated and sent to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP for legal advice.
The police boss explained that the Legal advice however indicated that there is no prima facie case of murder involuntary manslaughter and/or malicious administering of poison with intent of harm against the students and house masters. Hence they can not be prosecuted. They were all released on bail.”
Inspite of the transparent investigation carried out by the Police and the non establishment of prima facie case against the suspects, some members of the Ijaw Youths Counsil, Lagos, led by Comrade Henry Oyobolo, protested in front of DOWEN college for over two hours on January 6, 2022.
According to the Commissioner, the protesters including masquerades carried placards and were druming, thereby caused panic and apprehension.
“Much as we commiserate with the bereaved family on the death of their lovely and promising child, it is advised that the protesters and other inviduals or groups, who are still aggrieved, should go to the law court to seek redress, instead of taking laws into their own hands.
“Members of the public who may have misgivings about the outcome of Police investigation, medical enquiry and Legal advice with this case are also advised to follow due process in law , rather than resorting to self help. The Police will not told their hands and allow any act of omission that could threathen the peace being enjoined in the state”.