As public and private primary and secondary schools in Lagos prepare to resume for the commencement of second term on Tuesday, authorities in the state have said the embattled Dowen College, a secondary school located in Lekki, will not be reopening.
The government said until investigations into the unfortunate incident of the death of one of its junior secondary school two students, Sylvester Oromoni Junior, who was reportedly beaten and forced to drink a poisonous substance allegedly by some bullying seniors, reach a logical conclusion, the school shall not be permitted to resume.
This is as the government has advised school administrators to step up school safety measures and reduce unfavorable safety incidences across schools and their neighbourhood.
Speaking exclusively with our reporter on Monday, an assistant director in charge of public affairs unit, ministry of education, Ganiu Lawal, said very soon the school will also join others to resume but “not until ongoing investigations into the unfortunate incident reach an advanced stage.”
According to Mr Lawal, since the matter is not strictly a state matter and with the involvement of the police and other parties, “it would be ideal for all “ts” to be crossed and “is” to be dotted.
“But I can assure you that very soon the issue will be resolved, but they are not resuming tomorrow,” Mr Lawal said.
On safety measures
Speaking via a press statement issued on Monday and signed by Mr Lawal, the state’s commissioner for education, Folasade Adefisayo, said bullying, cultism and other vices will not be tolerated in any part of the school.
The caution was coming some weeks after the death of Master Oromoni.
Admonishing school administrators to increase counseling of students against these vices, the commissioner welcomed students, teachers and school administrators to the beginning of a new year and second term of 2021/2022 school session.
She directed school administrators to ensure exposure of students to danger within the school premises are neutralised while identified possible dangers outside the walls of the schools are escalated to appropriate state safety and enforcement agencies through prescribed channels.
“Devise appropriate strategies to advance teacher, student interaction in order to gain an insight and expose negative tendencies before they metamorphose into unfortunate situations. Adequate monitoring, especially as it affects boarding school students should be enforced to prevent the incidence of bullying and all other vices,” the commissioner advised.
The commissioner noted that all public and private schools in the state are expected to resume for the 2nd term of 2021/2022 school session on Tuesday 4th January, 2022 while students in boarding schools are expected back in the hostel by Monday, 3rd January, 2022.
The Lagos State government ordered the indefinite closure of Dowen College on December 3, 2021 after the parents and extended family members of 12-year old Oromoni Junior, insisted their son was murdered by seniors at the school.
Students who were at the time writing their first semester examinations were asked to vacate the school abruptly without completing their examinations. But reports said the school deployed technology to allow the student to complete their examination online.
The family’s lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, had written to the Chief Coroner of Lagos State requesting an inquest into the student’s death.
An autopsy conducted by the investigators, however, later revealed that the deceased died of “acute lung injury due to chemical intoxication in a background of blunt force trauma.”
The Lagos State Police Command has so far released the housemaster and other Dowen College staffer who were arrested in connection with the student’s death.
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