Wednesday 29 March 2023

Whitney Adeniran: Search For Truth, As Court Begins Trial

It is the moment of truth, and there is palpable suspense in the air, as the Lagos High Court in Ikeja will on Thursday commence the trial of four officials of Chrisland School Limited over the death of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Omodesola Adeniran, who died during an event organized by the school.

On the 9th of February 2023, Whitney Omodesola Adeniran a student of Chrisland High School, Ikeja aged 12 years, slumped during the Inter-house Sports organized by the School at the Agege Sports Stadium and was subsequently rushed to Agege Central Hospital, Agege, Lagos, where she was confirmed “Brought In Dead” (BID) by the doctor on duty.


The case was referred to the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, which carried out a thorough investigation with the help of other agencies. The file was subsequently forwarded to the DPP’s Office on Monday, 20th March 2023, for review of the duplicate case file.

On the 23rd of March 2023, the DPP issued his Legal Advice and concluded that a prima facie case of Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless and Negligent Acts had been established against the school, some members of staff and one of the vendors.

Already, the State has filed a two-count charge against four officials of the school for the offence of Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless and Negligent Acts contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015. 

Those to be arraigned before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Division, are Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Mrs Belinda Amao, Nwatu Ugochi Victoria, and Chrisland School Limited.

While the legal team of Lagos State will be led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Dr Femi Martins, the defendants have constituted a formidable legal defence team including a renowned lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, Mr Yele Delano, SAN, Chief Richard Ahonaruogho, SAN, and Mr Kayode Enitan, SAN, leading other counsel.

Being a court of record, Justice Ogala will be searching for answers whether Whitney's death was a result of an existing medical condition or whether she was electrocuted at the Agege Stadium where Chrisland students had gone for their Inter-House Sports.

Furthermore, the court will be looking at whether there was any negligence on the part of the defendants, even though the owners of the stadium had not been charged to court.

The case has attracted issues of safety in public places, and the public, including the parents of children of Chrisland School who had agitated for the opening of the school are all looking forward to the outcome of the matter which begins on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

Saddened by the unfortunate incident, Chrisland School had in a statement expressed sorrow over the demise of their adorable student. The management said it was heartbroken and distressed, as Whitney was one of its Day students who opted not to participate in the Inter-House Sports match past for reasons “we were not very sure of.

The statement disclosed on January 20, 2023, that it was on record that she had complained about not-too-buoyant health and the school immediately contacted her parents.

According to Chrisland, Whitney slumped in public view and not under any hidden circumstances, saying that she was rushed to the nearest medical facility for first aid.

The school added that its immediate response was to take advantage of the proximity to first-aid, by identifying the nearest medical facility to take her to, where the doctor on duty, administered oxygen and every aid possible to her.

The management explained that it immediately notified regulatory stakeholders and agencies to allow for a comprehensive evaluation and assessment of the developments.

It said that despite the compelling imperatives to fill any information gaps in public space, the school, established since 1977 has had no less than 35,000 students passed through its system, stopped short of making any media sensation out of this because the deceased in question, was a minor and deserving of its unqualified respect.

Undeniably, the outcome of the case is of great concern to parents, especially Whitney's parents in their moment of grief, students, and management of Chrisland School, which presently caters for about 4, 855 students from nursery up to university level, in Lagos and Abuja, and the final decision of the court will be eagerly awaited.


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