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Absence of witnesses stalls Oromoni’s Coroner hearing 

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
01 February 2022   |   4:13 am
The scheduled coroner inquest seeking to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of a student of Dowen College, Sylvester Oromoni Junior failed to hold yesterday..

Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr)

The scheduled coroner inquest seeking to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of a student of Dowen College, Sylvester Oromoni Junior failed to hold yesterday, due to absence of deceased’s father, Sylvester Oromoni Senior, his sister and others in court.

Coroner Magistrate, Mikhail Kadiri had adjourned to yesterday for the deceased’s father and others to testify in an ongoing inquest. Counsel to the Oromoni’s, Mr. Andrew Efole told the court that Oromoni sister’s absence was due to ill health.

He said: “The girl who ought to testify is sick, the father who ought to be here is attending to the child who is receiving treatment.”

He added to the prompting of the coroner about the where about of the deceased’s mother, “The mother is not strong now for the things she is going through.”

Meanwhile, counsel to Oromoni’s family, Olawanle Taiwo, from the firm of messrs Femi Falana applied for the hearing to be adjourned indefinitely. The application was made on grounds that the other parties to the proceedings have not filled their witness depositions.

Responding to the application, counsel to Dowen College, Anthony Kpokpo, said: “I find the application by counsel to Oromoni’s family tragic and fatalistic, as there is a pending order of the court with respect to the issue of witness deposition.”

One of the counsels in the matter, Ifeoma Esom said: “It is an attempt to stop the process since the truth is gradually coming out. Except Oromoni’s family is now ready to tell the truth that my clients were framed up, then we will agree to their request.”

Counsel to Lagos State Government, George A.A., said: “I find the application to suspend the coroner proceedings indefinitely loathsome. The court gave a directive regarding deposition. This application is an indication of having gone livid and developed cold feet. The court should visit the erroneous application with punitive monetary sanctions.”

Counsel to one of the accused students, Ayi-Ekpeyong, said: “The application is not in the interest of Justice and the public. This is a ploy to stop the proceedings of the court. The application is unreasonable, disrespectful and preposterous.”

Counsel to another student, Eze Ajibo, urged the court to discountenance the application for adjournment indefinitely. He told the court that they are in a voyage of discovering the truth, which would set all the parties concerned free.

Counsel to one of the students, Mr. Akinnimi Olumide, said: “The process to unmask the truth has been set in motion and a lot of energy has been dissipated.

The eyes of the world are focused on this inquisition and the world is waiting for the out come so time is of the essence.”

Responding to the application, the Coroner Magistrate, Mikail Kadiri, stated that the application is vexatious, as the court had ruled on the matter giving parties till February 1, 2022 (today) to file all witness depositions.

Earlier, counsel to Dowen College, Mr. Anthony Okpoko expressed dissatisfaction at the interview granted by Sylvester Oromoni Snr published yesterday (not in The Guardian) in contrast to the restraining order by the court to all parties from making comments to the press. 

Another breach Okpoko pointed was that, the relative of the deceased; Perri Oromoni has been tweeting in respect of the matter.

Magistrate Kadiri in response reiterated his order and said he might have to issue a summon on the said relative. “Why has he single-handedly decided to be the Coroner?” Magistrate Kadiri queried.

The Lagos State Counsel, Akin George, urged the court to apply Coroner System Law: Section 48(10) which states “Any person whose act or conduct contravenes any of the provisions of this law where no penalty is specified, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to (two) 2 years’ imprisonment.

The coroner having heard submissions of the counsel in respect of witnesses’ non-appearance on two consecutive times; last Friday and Monday, the Coroner is worried that it appears that the party who requested for the inquest is now stalling it. He subsequently adjourned further hearing till today.