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EDUCATION

Dowen College: Coroner Fixes December 15 For Preliminary Meeting, Police Arrest Three

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Five days after the death of a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni Junior, Police have confirmed the arrest of three students of the five students allegedly connected with the controversial death.
Recall that the father of the deceased student, Sylvester Oromoni Snr, said his son confided in him that he was handed a substance to drink and mentioned five senior students of the college in his last-minute narrative on how he was allegedly tortured over his refusal to join a secret cult.
The police spokesman in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, who confirmed the development to newsmen on Tuesday, however, did not disclose the identities of those students in custody.
It would be recalled that the Falana Chamber had on Monday on behalf of the deceased family of the student filed for coroner inquest into the circumstances leading to the death of the deceased.
However, the Lagos State Chief coroner has responded to the request by the family’s lawyer over the request.
The response to the letter from Falana Chambers titled: “Re: Request for Inquest into the Tragic Death of Sylvester Oromoni Killed at Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos State” read, “Your letter dated 6th December 2021 in respect of the above subject matter refers. I have the directive of the Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Honourable Justice M. A. Dada to act on your request and you are hereby invited to a preliminary meeting scheduled to hold as follows Wednesday, 15th December 2021.
The letter signed by Mikail Olukayode Kadiri, Coroner, Epe District, dated December 7, 2021, and addressed to Falana and Falana Chambers fixed the venue of the meeting at Magistrate Court No. 4, Chambers of the Coroner, Epe District, Combined High Court and Magistrate Court of Lagos State, Epe.
However, the Lagos State Command of the police also confirmed that it will be visiting Delta State for a post mortem of Master Oromoni’s body towards ascertaining the cause of the death.
The Police assured that police authorities in both Lagos and Delta States are keenly interested in the outcome of the investigation to unravel the mystery behind the death.
The police reaction had followed a petition from the deceased’s parents who hired the law firm of a foremost human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, to pursue their case.
The news of Sylvester’s experience which led to his untimely death broke last week when his cousin- Perrison Oromoni, went on social media to narrate how he had died and call out the names of his cousin’s alleged killers.
Delta State Governor Seeks Proper Investigation

The death of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. has attracted the attention of the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and vowed to investigate the killing of the Dowen College student in controversial and unclear circumstances.
The governor had in a statement agreed with the decision of the Lagos State government to launch an investigation into the death of Sylvester, a native of Warri South LGA in Delta State.
“As a government that places priority on the lives of our citizens, within and outside the state, we are determined to pursue this case to the end.
“The matter must be investigated, perpetrators apprehended, punished, and made an example of, to serve as a strong deterrence against future occurrences,” Governor Okowa said in a statement.

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EDUCATION

NNPC Ltd, Partners Donate 2,300-Seater Library To Niger Delta University

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its Joint Venture partners in OML 18 – the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Total Energies EP Nigeria Ltd, Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd, and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Deepwater) Ltd – have donated a 2,300-seater state-of-the-art digital library.

According to Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPC Limited, the digital library, a two-story complex equipped with cutting-edge information technology amenities such as 100 computer systems, e-learning and research facilities, interactive smart boards, projectors, camcorders, e-books, e-journals, an e-learning portal, and reading halls, was handed over to the school authority on Thursday in Bayelsa State.

The library also has a Wi-Fi Lounge, a print and document hall, video and audio recordings, a photography and online education centre, an e-distant learning hall, the Chief Librarian’s and departmental offices, an IT rack room, a newspaper archive, a stack room for new arrivals, and conveniences.

The library complex also includes a 500KVA power generator and transformer, as well as a dedicated water borehole with purification facilities.
The e-library is intended to promote ICT education and create a conducive learning environment for students and researchers at the school, keeping them up to date on global IT practices and advancements.

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EDUCATION

Unions Appeal To Tinubu To Appoint Lemchi As VC Of Alvan Ikoku Federal University Of Education

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Prof Lemchi

As the search for a vice chancellor at the newly elevated Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education (AIFUE), Owerri continues, a coalition of four house unions in the institution has asked President Bola Tinubu to consider appointing Professor  Stella Lemchi as the substantive vice chancellor.

The four unions, which include the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) transitioning to ASUU, the Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN) transitioning to SSANU, the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), signed a communique expressing their confidence in Prof. Lemchi, the acting deputy vice chancellor, to be promoted to VC.

The unions highlighted some of Professor Lemchi’s accomplishments at Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education in Owerri, including infrastructural upgrades such as prioritising hostel renovations, improving their ambiance and functionality, deploying the federal government revitalization fund to replace over 200 doors and windows, tiling the floors of the two hostels, completely rebuilding the toilets, and installing suitable and safe kitchens for the students.

The work also included improved water supply in the hostels, complete building repainting, and the installation of electrical work, wardrobes and beds.

According to the unions, the acting DVC also started building a Professors’ Block in the Shell Camp area and expanded the campus across the River Nworie. She has also fought valiantly to prevent further encroachment on the campus in Nworie. The Lemchi administration is currently working on plans to address ecological issues along the riverbank in order to allow the bridge to be used.

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Regarding security enhancement, the unions stated that Prof Lemchi has restructured the university’s security architecture, as well as promoting best practices in the recruitment of student security operatives, arming them with adequate equipment and resources for effective performance, and that these efforts have significantly reduced security breaches, which were common prior to her appointment.

The unions believe that under her administration, staff welfare has improved dramatically, including clearing the backlog of staff promotions and conversions that had been lingering for years.

Furthermore, they stated that hundreds of non-teaching staff were converted and properly placed, including many who had earned higher qualifications on the job, as the conversions and promotions improved worker morale and motivation.

According to them, Prof Lemchi has been advocating for the welfare and proper placement of teaching staff during the transition process, including requesting that lecturers be given grace periods to obtain the qualifications required to maintain their positions rather than being abruptly demoted at the university.

On the Students’ Support Programme, the unions praised the acting DVC for implementing measures to combat student harassment as well as improving the NYSC mobilisation and certificate issuance process.

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“Last year 3 batches of students were mobilized for service, a feat unheard of in the institution in nearly a decade. Her focus on students’ welfare includes streamlining clearance procedures, improving academic standards, engaging with parents and guardians and collaborating with the student’s union to speedily solve any challenges.

“On internal revenue generation, she implemented policies to boost internally generated revenue of the institution. One major plank of this was developing a seamless fee payment portal to close loopholes. She has also revitalised the business ventures in the University like the water factory and bakery.

Recently she received a 37-man team for resource verification of the university programmes from the NUC. Working with the unions, Lemchi has submitted a bill to the National Assembly to codify the law that established the university,” the unions concluded.

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EDUCATION

Community Calls On Gov. Sanwo-Olu To Investigate Demolition Of Saint Margaret Group Of Schools

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Protesting teachers and other staff

The community hosting Saint Margaret Group of Schools in Ikorodu, Lagos, has staged a protest, urging Lagos State Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to stop the demolition of the school facilities by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), some armed security personnel and unauthorised individuals, commonly known as touts.

The school was established 42 years ago, in 1982, at 26 NBC Road, Ebute, Ikorodu.

During the protest, the protesters, armed with placards bearing various inscriptions, issued a clarion call to Sanwo-Olu, requesting his intervention to halt the actions of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), which arrived with fully armed security personnel and unauthorised individuals, commonly known as touts, to prevent any further illegal demolitions of their school facilities.

During the protest, the School’s Proprietor, Pastor Olusegun Alonge, was joined by teachers, parents, staff, and members of the community in calling on Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Chief Lagos Landlord, to intervene in the attacks on the Lagos Building Control Agency led by Arc. Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, to stop the illegal demolition of the Saint Margaret group of schools.

He condemned the agency’s actions on the school, which was established on the property over four decades ago, claiming that the group of schools was severely damaged as a result of the agency’s invasion without any reasonable prior notice of government demands for payment or policy compliance.

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When asked if the school lacked complete building documentation, which could have prompted the agency’s visit, the proprietor responded positively, stating that they have a collection of documents for all of their building facilities.

Alonge went on to say that one of the actions he took following the incident was to visit the office of the LASBCA’s General Manager, Arc. Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, but he was denied an audience during his first visit.

He claimed that during his subsequent visit a few days later, he was escorted out by the same General Manager and threatened.

He stated: “The General Manager warned that if precautions were not taken, he would direct the building control agency to downgrade the school. He boasted about Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s support for his activities.

The Proprietor, who appears to have not fully recovered from the trauma of the demolition, issued a strong appeal to Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to intervene and reopen the school.

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He stated that he still believes in the Sanwoolu government’s ability to protect the lives and property of its citizens.

During the incident, some school staff members on duty claimed that the actions of those attempting to demolish the school were similar to those used by kidnappers or bandits.

They claimed that the agency’s task force entered the school without identifying themselves to the gate security personnel. When questioned about their identities, some task force members began photographing and filming the school facilities without disclosing who they were.

Teachers and security personnel attempted to prevent this unauthorised action but were met with resistance.

They also claimed that the task force on site summoned additional security personnel and unauthorised individuals, who arrived in large numbers and began demolishing buildings and causing damage to several classrooms.

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They claimed that as this was taking place, students taking exams in their respective classrooms were forcibly evacuated, with threats of violence issued to anyone who did not comply with the orders.

They claimed that “teachers and young children were chased onto the main road outside the school grounds.”

“During the commotion, the students and kindergarten children were in a state of panic, wailing loudly at the sight of gun-wielding personnel and intimidating-looking touts accompanying them out of their school. Some of them were threatened with guns and forced to leave the school.”

During the protest, Mr Lawani Dominion Abiola, Coordinator of the group of schools, appealed to the governor to use his good office to rescue the school from the attack of the Building Agency, stating that no notice of whatever intention was served the school for any purpose before the attack committed on March 27th, 2024 around 2 pm while students were still writing examination papers, nothing less than five staff of the school were arrested and whisked down to Badagr

Some of the parents who happened to witness the commotion on that day, Mr Obamude Omoniyi and Mrs Enny Jones, condemned the agency’s Gestapo approach, suggesting a more civilised method of operation as an elite agency in Lagos State. Omoniyi described his ongoing efforts to persuade his son, who has vowed never to return to the school or any other school after their traumatic encounters with armed men. In his words, he quoted the son verbatim: ‘Daddy, I have been watching that kind of gun in the cartoon but never knew anyone could bring such a weapon to our school to threaten us, so I will not attend any school anymore because school is no longer safe.

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According to some community residents and local businesswomen who attended the school protest on March 27th, 2024, the neighbourhood witnessed an unprecedented event. They also described the incident as bandit operations, which had been reported in radio broadcasts and newspapers. In a heartfelt appeal, they urged Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, known for his responsible and responsive leadership, to intervene and address the building agency’s excessive and unethical conduct. These emotionally charged mothers expressed concern about tarnishing the governor’s reputation and the good work for which he is known.

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