As Ijaw women seek justice

 

Abiodun OBA

 

The death of Sylvester Oromomi, the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, who died last week, has been described as heatbreaking.

Wife of the Lagos state governor, Dr. Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Monday made the remark during an advocacy visit to some schools in furtherance of the ongoing 16 days of activism against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Sanwo-Olu’s wife described the incident as unfortunate, saying never again should it reoccur in the state.

She said: “I am aware that the Lagos State government is at the moment investigating the incident and honestly, it is something we are not very happy about. It’s a big slap on the face of the education sector, the community, and Lagos State as a whole.

“It is a case that is being investigated and for the parents and everybody involved, honestly, we commiserate with them and send our condolences.

“As I said, the case is being investigated and I will not be able to say much on it at the moment.”

She said the advocacy visit to schools was aimed at catching the students young and enlightening them on the need to work against all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

“As we all know, the world is commemorating the 16 days of activism against SGBV. It commences on November 25 and it will end on December 10, which is Human Rights Day. The programme is being championed globally by United Nations and our theme this year is “Orange The World: End Violence Against Women Now.

“The advocacy is also being championed by the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum, NGOs and so many other private individuals and organizations to ensure that there is zero-tolerance to gender-based violence all over Nigeria and Lagos in particular,” she said.

Sanwo-Olu’s wife explained that the visit to the respective schools is the third leg of the advocacy efforts, saying that a similar enlightenment programme had been held for community groups and religious leaders by her office.

“For the Office of the Lagos State First Lady, we decided that our advocacy is to do community sensitization at the grassroots level which we did on November 29 and then we followed it up with sensitization visit to our religious leaders in our communities. This is the third way of our advocacy, going into the schools.

“We realized that it is good to catch them young and so when we plant this seed in the children, it will gradually germinate and it helps us to ensure that our students have the correct mindset and understand why these vices exist and what the law says about the vices in the country.

“I am happy with the response we are getting. The students are interested in knowing about Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and joining the train to stamp it out in our state. We have distributed some resource materials that will help the teachers, the students, and the parents Associations in the respective schools to know more and work against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in our communities,” she said.

The state government has already sealed off the college following the gruesome death of Oromomi, who was a boarding student of the college.

Meanwhile, Ijaw Women Connect (IWC), a socio-cultural group, on Monday in Yenagoa bemoaned the gruesome killing of a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr).

In a statement signed by its President, Mrs Rosemary John-Oduone, and spokesperson, Mrs Izuogere Iwolo, IWC said,“We condemn in totality and in strong terms the gruesome killing of Oromoni (Jnr).

“We, as Ijaw mothers whose sister and brother lost a very promising and bright child, will not be silent to watch Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) die while those responsible for his early passage go scot-free.

“It is depressing and it saddens our hearts to see another future leader of our dear nation killed for his refusal to join a cult group in school.

“We, sincerely thank the governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his action in reacting to the call by the masses and subsequently shutting the school to further investigate the matter.

“We thank Nigerians for thronging out to support the Oromoni’s family and calling for justice for little Oromoni Jnr.

“As a nation, we are stronger together.

“We appreciate the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State for his swift response.

“We are pleading that the matter must be investigated, perpetrators apprehended and punished to serve as a deterrence against future occurrences,’’ IWC stated.

The group also demanded that Dowen College must be held accountable for failing to protect the life of a child in its custody.

IWC also noted that unguarded press statements aimed at diverting public attention to cover up a crime that claimed the life of an innocent child was condemnable.

The group said that Ijaw mothers would join hands with mothers all over Nigeria to march the streets of Lagos and in the Nation’s capital Abuja to seek for answers over this killing and ensure that justice is served.

The group noted that the public was aware of the alleged plot by parents of the five boys involved in beating Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) to death, to sneak the accused children out of Nigeria to evade justice.

The group advised the parents of the accused children to drop the plot as the world is a global village and there would be no hiding place for the wicked.

“They will definitely be returned from whichever country to face the full wrath of the law and be held responsible for their evil action.

“To the Oromoni’s, be rest assured that we are with you in these trying moments.

“May the soul of our little departed son Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) rest in peace as we celebrate his 12th post-mortem birthday. You are loved even in Heaven,’’ IWC stated.

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