The Lagos State Government on Thursday tendered three documents in evidence against four staff of Chrisland Schools charged with involuntary manslaughter of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Adeniran.
The staff: Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao and Vicoria Nwatu, are standing trial on a two-count charge.
They are charged before an Ikeja High Court, but pleaded not guilty.
Adeniran allegedly slumped and died during the school’s inter-house sports at Agege Stadium on February 9, 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr. Babajide Martins, tendered the documents while leading Whitney’s father, Adeyemi Adeniran, in evidence.
Justice Oyindamola Ogala admitted the documents in evidence as there was no objection from the defence counsel.
The documents are a medical report from Agege Central Hospital, a medical report from Inland Hospital in Lagos, and a printout of a screenshot of conversations from a snapchat group page, entitled: “Lagos Housewives.”
The father of the deceased, a businessman, told the court that his daughter left his house on February 9 hale and hearty for the school’s inter-house sports.
He said that his wife was at the inter-house sports but was not informed that her daughter had been taken to hospital when the alleged incident occurred.
He said: “My wife called me and said she was told that Whitney slumped and had been rushed to a hospital.
“She said that the principal of the school told her that Whitney was already coming up before she left to the hospital.
“I told my wife to go and check up on her at the hospital and, if need be, she should let me know so that I could be there.
“After 10 minutes, she called back and said: ‘Start coming to Agege Central Hospital.’”
Adeniran testified that he left everything he was doing and proceeded to Agege, adding: “It took me about 45 minutes to locate the place because it could not be found on Google Map.
“Eventually, when I arrived, I saw my wife by the roadside, she waved at me to stop.
“I got out of the car and told my Personal Assistant to leave the car on so as to quickly pick her (Whitney) up and take her to our family hospital at Ogudu.
“My wife told me to go inside and pray for my daughter, maybe she would wake up.
“I got inside, I saw her lifeless body on a table in a small room.”
The witness said he thought his daughter was given an injection and was sleeping.
Adeniran said: “In that room, I saw some teachers.
“So I went close to my daughter.
“I raised her up to my body, shouted and tapped her to wake up.
“I prayed but nothing happened.
“I shouted, I tapped her severally, nothing happened.
“I asked for the doctor of the facility.
“I knelt down before the doctor to do whatever she could to wake my daughter up, but she responded that there is nothing she could do.”
Adeniran quoted the doctor as saying that Whitney was brought in dead, adding: “I stood up and went back to the room where she was laid, while the school nurse was still standing close to her.
“I asked the nurse what happened to Whitney, and she told me she slumped.
“She said my daughter died at the stadium before she was brought to the hospital, but she could not pronounce her dead because she was not a medical doctor.”
Adeniran also testified that the doctor later came and told him that she would like to see him privately.
He said: “The doctor told me that she would advise me not to waste time in burying my daughter.
“She really persuaded me.
“The principal and the school nurse were present.
“She said I should make sure I bury her in time and not put her in morgue and that I should not think of conducting any autopsy on her.
“I nearly agreed at a point because I did not know morgue and I had never bought a coffin.”
Adeniran told the court that the day before Whitney’s death, he played with her and she was hale and hearty, adding: “So I started asking myself why I should bury my daughter in a hurry without knowing what happened to her.
“The doctor told me to think of the money and the pain I would go through in the process of autopsy but I asked her: ‘What pain is worse than death of a child?’”
Adeniran said that he decided to find out the cause of his daughter’s death.
He said later, his wife heard some noise from Whitney’s phone. but she did not know the phone’s password.
He said: “My sister-in-law, Amaka, knows the password.
“So she opened the phone and messages started dropping from her snapchat group called: ‘Lagos Housewives.’
“Some students sent messages there, saying that they knew the school would not tell the parents the truth.
“One of the students said: ‘We were there and we saw what happened. She was electrocuted.’
“Another one said: ‘I saw Whitney on the iron rail close to the candy machine. The wire of the machine shocked like mad, she fell on the ground, started foaming in her mouth, and one stupid man came and started putting water on her.’
“At that time, I remembered her black lips and black tongue I saw when I saw her lifeless body at the clinic.”
The witness further told the court that members of the school’s management came on a condolence visit and told the family not to go on social media.
Adeniran said: “I spoke with the principal and she told me that the cause of her death might have been heart attack, but I do not believe her because the autopsy result says otherwise and my suspicion was that it might have been electrocution.
“This is because I have seen people electrocuted.”
The judge adjourned the case until June 1 for continuation of cross-examination of the witness.