The Lagos State Government has filed two counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless and negligent acts against Chrisland School Limited and four others over the death of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Adeniran.
They are all to be arraigned on Thursday before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja. The four others are staff members of the school namely, Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao and Nwatu Victoria.
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The charges were filed on behalf of the state government by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins. The DPP disclosed that on the 9th of February, 2023 at about 1 pm at Agege Sports Stadium, they all negligently killed Whitney Adeniran by not ensuring her safety.
The charge also disclosed that they all acted in a reckless and negligent manner that endangered human life.
The offences are contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015
If found guilty, the offences carry a penalty of life imprisonment and two-year jail terms respectively.
Channels TV’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele obtained a copy of the charge sheet and the DPP’s Legal Advice.
The legal advice dated March 22, states that the duplicate case file reveals that on the 9th of February, 2023, Chrisland High School, Ikeja, organised an Inter-house Sport at the Agege Sports Stadium for its students and during the programme, one of the students – Whitney Adeniran, aged 12 years was electrocuted.
Indeed, a 9-paged autopsy report conducted at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja put the cause of death as asphyxia and electrocution.
Adeniran was said to have slumped on February 9 during the Inter-house Sports organised by the school and held at the Agege Sports Stadium.
She was given first aid by the nurse on standby and was subsequently rushed to Agege Central Hospital, Agege, Lagos where she was confirmed dead by the doctor on duty.
Preliminary reports from the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency and Statements obtained by the police from top officials of the school reveal that whilst the population of students in the school is 556 and the school expected about 1,000 people to be in attendance for the Inter-house Sports, 12 educators were assigned to about ninety 90 students in each house to monitor them.
It was also gathered that the school management did not do its due diligence in securing a permit from the Lagos State Safety Commission to use the space secured at the stadium with that number of persons.
The DPP says this shows categorically that the suspects owed the deceased a duty of care, the duty was breached, and that breach led to the death of the deceased.
While the legal team of the Lagos State Government will be led by the DPP, Dr Babajide Martins, the defence team has four senior advocates of Nigeria – Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr Yele Delano (SAN), Chief Richard Ahonaruogho (SAN) and Mr Olukayode Enitan (SAN) leading other counsel.
The case has raised concerns about issues of the safety of children in the public and in public places.