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Chrisland: Lawyer, Witness clash over Lagos stadium medical, safety precautions law

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ARINZE NWAFOR, Lagos

A Lagos state social welfare officer has disagreed with the third defendant’s counsel, Olukayode Enitan, SAN, on his witness on whether the responsibility of providing medical and safety precautions lies with the state government or Chrisland School in the trial of the death of Whitney Adeniran.

At the resumed cross-examination of the officer, Yakubu Abisogun, on Thursday, told an Ikeja High Court that the state is not responsible for ensuring that proper medical facilities were provided for the students participating in the Inter-house sports competition at the Agege Stadium.

Whitney, a student of Chrisland School, died of an alleged electrocution on February 9, 2023, during an Inter-house sports competition that was held at the Agege Stadium, Lagos State. She was 12 years old.

Enitan reminded the court that the witness had previously given evidence that the state government is not obligated by law to provide medical facilities and ensure safety precautions are taken at the Agege Stadium.

He made the witness read subsection 3(2) of a document titled ‘A Law Amending The Lagos State Sports Commission Law 2017,’ which states that the Sports Commission has the power to ensure the availability of proper medical facilities and take safety precautions for the health and safety of athletes and spectators in stadiums.

The witness said, “I have read it [the law] but I don’t know. I am not part of them.”

The third defendant’s counsel tendered the document containing the Sports Commission law to the court to be admitted as evidence and Justice Oyindamola Ogala admitted it.

Enitan showed the witness some receipts of payment for usage of Agege Stadium by Chrisland school that bore the header of Lagos State Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, which the witness confirmed are issued by the state treasury. 

He attempted to tender the receipts as evidence but the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Babajide Martins, objected to the application on the grounds that it was not the office of the witness, the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development that issued the receipts.

However, the counsel to the second, fourth and fifth defendants; Richard Ahonaruogho, SAN, Ademola Animasaun and Ajibola Ariba respectively, asked the court to admit the receipts as evidence on the grounds of relevance as the witness is a government worker and the treasury bills were issued by the state government.

Still under cross-examination, Enitan told the court that Chrisland School wrote to the Ministry of Education on February 10, 2023, and also informed the police of the incident.

He then asked Abisogun to confirm that his earlier testimony was wrong about the school not escalating the incident before his office learnt of the matter and began a fact-finding mission.

The witness said he was not wrong in his earlier evidence as there is a template for the school to report to other state agencies including Child Protection, Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency and the Safety Commission.

Further, Enitan said to the witness, “I put it to you that your evidence that Chrisland school had only one nurse to over 500 students and guests is false. 

“The school had two registered nurses, three Red Cross (First Cadre) and five other staff that could give first aid”; but the witness answered in the negative.

The judge, Ogala, adjourned the matter to May 2, 2024, for continuation of trial.

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