The Lagos State Government has cleared five students and five employees of Dowen College accused of complicity in the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni.
Sylvester, who died on November 30, 2021, was believed to have been tortured for refusing to join their cult.
The five students, Favour Benjamin, Michael Kashamu, Edward Begue, Ansel Temile, and Kenneth Inyang were arrested in connection with the murder of the twelve-year-old have been cleared of all accusations by Adetutu Oshinusi, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
Also cleared were five officials of Dowen College linked to the death of Sylvester as well as Kingsley Otuaro, the manager of the school building in Lekki.
The directive to clear the students was contained in legal advice signed by Ms Oshinusi to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), and the trial magistrate, Olatunbosun Adeola.
Ms Oshinusi asserted there was not sufficient evidence to establish that the arrested students were members of unlawful society.
“From available facts in the duplicate case file, the investigation carried out by the police did not reveal that any secret society name, tattoo or insignia of any unlawful society was found in the possession of any of the suspects during the investigation carried out by the police,” the advice read.
Ms Oshinusi further said that to believe contrary to the statement would amount to sniffing for an offence and would be trying the students on speculation which is not permitted by law.
“It is trite law that suspicion no matter how grave cannot be a ground for conviction,” Ms Oshinusi added.
The state also directed that all the suspects should be released if they are still in custody.
There had been reports that Oromoni died from injuries sustained in an attack by five senior students of the school for allegedly refusing to join their cult.
The 12-year-old boy died on November 30, 2020, after efforts to save his life failed.
His father had claimed that his child was beaten and fed a liquid chemical but Dowen College dismissed the claim.
The school claimed the boy sustained injuries while playing football with his colleagues.
The clearance was contained in a Legal Advice of the Director of Public Prosecution, Lagos State, Ms. Adetutu Oshinusi.
A copy of the legal advice obtained by our correspondent was addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, and the trial magistrate, Magistrate Olatunbosun Adeola.
The advice stated that the interim and final autopsy reports issued by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and toxicology report of post mortem samples and that of the Central Hospital, Warri were in agreement as to the cause of death namely: Septicaemia, Lobar Pneumonia with Acute Pyelonephritis, Pyomyositis of the right ankle and Acute Bacteria Pneumonia due to severe Sepsis.
“The result of the toxicology is also not indicative of any toxic or poisonous substance in the body of the deceased,” it added.
The DPP’s legal advice, therefore, concluded that based on these findings, there is “no prima facie case of murder, involuntary manslaughter and or malicious administering of poison with intent to harm against the five students”.
It stated that “from available facts in the duplicate case file, the investigation carried out by the Police did not reveal that any secret society name, tattoo or insignia of any unlawful society was found in the possession of any of the suspects during the investigation carried out by the Police.
“To hold otherwise would amount to sniffing for an offence and a speculative act which is not permitted in law. It is trite law that suspicion no matter how grave cannot be a ground for conviction.”
SEE COPY OF THE LEGAL ADVICE: