FRCN HQ
Headline National News Nigeria

Sylvester Oromoni Inquest: Forensic Toxicologist discusses autopsy

A Lagos-based Forensic Toxicologist, Benedict Agbo, has told a Coroner Inquest in Ikeja Magistrates’ Court that he did not receive a request to test the blackish substance found on the late 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Sylvester Oromoni Jnr.

The blackish substance was found in the second autopsy conducted by a pathologist, Sokunle Soyemi, with the Lagos State Teaching University Hospital (LASUTH).

It was believed to have contained the chemical intoxication allegedly forced down the throat of the schoolboy by some senior pupils at Dowen College that led to his death.

While being cross-examined by counsel to the Oromoni’s family, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), the witness, said that the black substance found in the deceased’s intestines during the autopsy was not given to him for examination.

“No, I did not get any request. I did not carry out a test on the blackish substance,” Agbo said.

Agbo, who had worked with the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) for 25 years, noted that he was contacted by the police Area Commander in Warri, Delta State, that an autopsy was going to be done the deceased.

After the autopsy was carried out, he said he discussed it with the state’s pathologist, Dr Clement Vhriterhire and received some samples for chemical analysis.

He said the samples sent to him were tagged: A (containing cake dark brown labelled heart blood), B (containing greyish liquid substance labelled stomach content), C (sample note containing a greyish brown mass of flesh labelled liver), a sample bottle containing light reddish coloured liquid labelled fluid from the eye).

The witness, who affirmed he was the one who suggested to the pathologist in Warri what to send to him, said he carried out the physical examination at the microscopic level.

The witness said it was normal to use clotted blood for toxicology when Mr Falana asked him.

The witness said that the police laboratory in Alagbon, inaugurated in 1997, is a functional laboratory for toxicology.

The witness said that he would have to go back and take stock when the counsel asked about the condition of the equipment from November 2021 to date.

Agbo, who said there was equipment for testing poisons, stressed that the functionality of a toxicology laboratory does not depend on the equipment but the expertise.

“I used solvent and solid extraction procedures in testing the samples,”

“You will agree with me, therefore, that if the biochemical assay has not been carried out, you cannot conclusively say that your report is final? Falana asked.

“No, I can not say that because a biochemical assay is to know if the liver, heart and other vital organs were functioning very well before the cessation of life.,” the witness said.

The Coroner, Mr Mikhail Kadiri, adjourned proceedings until April 11 to continue the hearing.

It was alleged by the Oromoni family that the 12-year-old student died on November 30, 2021, from injuries sustained in an attack by five senior students of Dowen College for refusing to join a secret society.

It was also alleged that his attackers forced him to drink a substance.

However, advice by the Lagos State DPP released on January 4 disputed the allegations.

It stated that an autopsy revealed the cause of the student’s death as acute bacterial pneumonia due to severe sepsis.

Reporting by Wahab Akinlade, Editing by Omotola Oguneye