Lagos arraigns Chrisland School principal, 3 others over pupil’s death

An Ikeja High Court on Thursday admitted four staff members of Chrisland International School, Opebi in Ikeja, to bail for the alleged involuntary manslaughter of a 12-year-old pupil, Whitney Adeniran.

Specifically, the principal, vice principal, and two employees of the school were arraigned over the death of the pupil.

The defendants were brought before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

The Lagos State Government charged Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao, and Nwatu Victoria with involuntary manslaughter and reckless negligent acts.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Oyindamola Ogala admitted the defendants to bail after defence counsel moved the motion for bail dated 28 and 29 March respectively.

As reported by Premium Times, there were no objections from the prosecution, led by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo.

Ms. Ogala admitted the first and second defendants to N10 million bail each with two sureties each in like sum.

She also admitted the third and the fourth defendants to N20 million bail each with two sureties each in like sum.

The judge said all the sureties must be gainfully employed, have credible and verified evidence of source of living and reside within the court’s jurisdiction.

“All the sureties must have two years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government and must submit their international passports with the Chief registrar of the state high court,” Ms Ogala said.

The court, however, ordered the defence counsel to write an undertaking in order for the defendants to be released to them before the perfection of their bail.

The defence counsel team comprises Bimpe Ajegbomojon (first defendant), Richard Ahonarougho (second defendant), Olukayode Enitan (third defendant), Ademola Animashaun (fourth defendant) and Bolaji Ayorinde (fifth defendant) while Oluwatodimu Ige held brief for the family of the deceased.

The five defence counsels urged the court to grant bail to the defendants on self-recognisance.

NAN reports that according to the charge information signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Babajide Martins, on 24 March, the defendants allegedly committed the offence on 9 February, at about 1:00 p.m. in Agege Sports Stadium, Agege, Lagos.

The prosecution said that the defendants negligently killed Adeniran by not ensuring her safety.

The state also submitted that the defendants acted recklessly and negligently that endangered human life.

Mr. Onigbanjo, while arraigning the defendants, informed the court that the state would be presenting 17 witnesses against the defendants.

“We shall be praying for a date to open trial,” he said.

According to the prosecution, the alleged offence contravened Sections 224 and 251 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

Ms. Ogala subsequently adjourned the case until 25 May for the commencement of trial.

According to The Guardian, the pupil was said to have slumped on February 9, 2023, during the school’s inter-house sports at the Agege Stadium and was put on the school bus, driven to a hospital, and died on the way to the hospital.

The 12-year-old died in strange circumstances during the school’s inter-house sports activities at the Agege Stadium, Lagos State.

It was alleged that Chrisland School held the event without an Ambulance, paramedics, medical personnel, or safety corps.

However, an autopsy report conducted by Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) dated March 1, 2023, revealed that she died as a result of asphyxia and electrocution.

The defendants were arraigned on two-count charges bordering on involuntary manslaughter, and reckless and negligent acts preferred against them by the state.

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Ogala, who presided over the matter, thereafter fixed May 25, June 1, 8, and 15 for commencement of trial.
Whitney: Lagos govt files manslaughter charge against Chrisland.

As reported by The Punch, Lagos State Government had filed two counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless and negligent acts against Chrisland School Limited over the death of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Adeniran, who died during the school’s inter-house sports activities in February.

Chirsland, alongside four others – Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao, and Nwatu Victoria – who are also staffers of the school, were arraigned over the death.

The Director of Public Prosecution, Babajide Martins, filed the charges on behalf of the state government.

According to the DPP, on February 9, 2023, at about 1 pm at Agege Sports Stadium, they all negligently killed Whitney Adeniran by not ensuring her safety, adding that they all acted recklessly and negligently that endangered human life.

The offences, which are contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015, carry a penalty of life imprisonment and two-year jail terms respectively.

The paper had also reported how the Lagos State Government said it would sue Chrisland School, Ikeja, some members of staff, and one of the vendors for “Involuntary Manslaughter and Reckless and Negligent Acts,” following Whitney’s death.

However, a copy of the charge sheet and the DPP’s legal advice which was obtained by Channels Television, and 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.”

The legal team of the Lagos State Government was to be led by the DPP, Dr. Babajide Martins, while the defence team is made up of four senior advocates of Nigeria, namely; Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr. Yele Delano (SAN), Chief Richard Ahonaruogho (SAN) and Mr. Olukayode Enitan (SAN) leading other counsel.

Whitney was buried in Lagos on March 2, 2023.

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