The embattled management of Dowen College, Lagos has vowed to work alongside the authorities in the investigation into the death of one of its pupils, Sylvester Oromoni, who was allegedly tortured by colleagues for refusing to join a cult.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the school described the young man as a beacon of light for the school as it commiserated with the family of the deceased.
This comes amid a backlash against the school from the public over its claim that the deceased was injured in a football match.
The school in its reaction to the incident claimed that the deceased sustained injuries while playing football and was given immediate medical attention by its resident nurse.
In a statement on Wednesday, the school denied all allegations stating that Sylvester was neither bullied nor beaten.
However, the victim’s cousin released photos and video evidence, showing Sylvester was bullied and beaten, leading to his death.
A video shared by the family of the boy before his death showed him in very bad shape and in pain.
The deceased was also said to have been forced to drink an unknown substance by the ‘bullies’.
The father of the late student had alleged that the parents of students responsible for torturing his son had made arrangements for them to fly out of the country.
Meanwhile, the state government has ordered the indefinite closure of the school, pending the outcome of the investigation, the outcome of which it said would be made public.
Many Nigerians including celebrities have on social media demanded justice for the late Sylvester, using the hashtag #justiceforsylvester to campaign for the cause.
Some have called on parents to withdraw their children from the school following the incident.
But the school in its statement noted that at a time of intense grief and suffering, tensions are high. It assured parents that it will continue to protect their wards.
The statement reads, “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of one of our beloved students, Sylvester Oromoni Jr.
“He was dearly loved by his teachers, his fellow students and he was a beacon of light for the school. The tragic and unfortunate incident which transpired this past November, and Sylvester’s untimely death requires a thorough and proper investigation.
“Dowen College is fully committed to this. We are assisting the authorities to get to the bottom of this heartbreaking incident.
“The first steps taken by the school, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, has been the immediate closure of the school to aid in the investigation.
“Understandably, at this time of intense grief and suffering, emotions are raw and tensions are high.
“We pray that God, who alone knows how to comfort the sorrowing, will comfort Sylvester’s family and all those who loved and knew him.
“We commiserate with the Oromoni family, and the students of Dowen College who have lost a friend and fellow student.
“This is a traumatic experience.
“We assure our parents that the school is taking steps to ensure the safety and security of their children and wards. This is paramount.
”Every child is valued at Dowen College and their health and well-being is of the utmost priority to the school.”