As distraught parents and Nigerians continue to demand justice for Dowen college student, Sylvester Oromoni, who died from injuries he sustained while in the school’s boarding facility, the Onyekwuluje family of Umuakwa, Ihiala in Anambra State, are also demanding justice for their only son, Bright Chidalu Onyekwuluje, who they claimed died while he was a boarding student at St. Michael’s Boys College, Ekwusigo Local Council, Anambra State on December 17, 2021.
In a petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali, Guardian reports that the parents of the deceased accused the school authorities of negligence that caused their 11-year-old son’s death.
The bereaved family alleged that while their son’s health deteriorated, the school’s management, rather than releasing him for medical attention, insisted on keeping him behind to finish his terminal examinations.
They claimed that a concerned cousin, had to borrow a mobile phone from someone with which the family was alerted to Bright’s failing health, and how he was refused to exit the school.
The parents of the deceased, Prince Cornelius and Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, who spoke to journalists during the burial of their son, said that he gave up the ghost nine days after he was taken away from the school.
“My son, Bright Chidalu Onyekwuluje, died out of negligence on the part of the school. He was sick, and they refused to tell us. It was my son’s cousin that borrowed a phone to call his mother to tell us to come and pick Bright that he was dying,”
Prince Onyekwuluje said, adding that he was persuaded by the school not to bother coming to get his son when he expressed worry over his state of health.
“My son’s cousin told us he has been the one backing him from the school hostel to the classroom every day, to sit for exams.
“Even after the call, I reached the guardian of my son, but he lied to me that the boy was okay and that it was nothing serious. I insisted on coming from Port Harcourt, Rivers State where I live to pick him, and they insisted it was nothing serious.
“When I insisted I must see him, I was surprised the boy looked so bad that he was already dying. I asked the guardian if this was the boy he said was alright, but he did not answer. Now I have lost my only son.”
The principal of the school, Rev. Fr. Romanus Ike Muoma, however, debunked the claim that the management delayed in releasing the student to his parents, explaining that he was promptly treated for malaria before he suffered a relapse.
Fr Muoma, who spoke to DAILY POST in his office during a visit said:
“The boy was seen here in school moving about with other students, days before his father came. What we have here (college) is not an auxiliary nurse, but a qualified nurse from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, and we pay heavily for his services.
“The boy was diagnosed with malaria, and was immediately put on treatment, and afterwards, he was okay. When it was found that the boy was ill again, it was the guardian that called the parents to come and take him.”
When told that the deceased’s cousin who had called the parent to alert them of the illness was punished by the school for doing so, Father Muoma said the boy was only made to kneel down for some minutes, saying it was against the rule for students to call parents, as calls are only made from a central point by the management.
The Onyekwuluje family has however indicated its interest to pursue justice for their son. Mr Ben Onyekwuluje, elder brother of the deceased’s father said a petition has been sent to the Inspector General of Police and the family will stop at nothing until justice is served.
May the soul of Bright Chidalu Onyekwuluje find peace with the Lord!