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Court finds no mention of electrocution in social ministry’s report on Whitney’s death

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ARINZE NWAFOR, Lagos

An Ikeja High Court, on Wednesday, learned that there was no mention of electrocution in the report on Whitney Adeniran’s death by a fact-finding mission of the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development.

Whitney, a student of Chrisland Schools, 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.

The prosecution’s third witness, Yakubu Abisogun, told the court there was no mention of electrocution in the report during his cross-examination by the counsel to the first defendant, Bimpe Ajegbomogun.

Ajegbomogun told the witness that the father of the deceased, Michael Adeniran, was the first person who stated that his daughter, Whitney, died from electrocution at the Age Stadium.

She probed the witness, a social welfare officer, on why an investigation into the death of Whitney by the Safeguarding and Child Protection Alliance Group (SCPAG) indicting the school would not mention Michael’s allegation that an electrocution killed his daughter.

The SCPAG, according to the witness, is a committee that comprises officers from several Lagos State Ministries, including Youth and Social Development, Education and Justice.

The counsel to the first defendant also probed the witness on the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of Lagos State document which the prosecution tendered to be admitted in evidence on the last adjourned date.

She asked Yakubu, “Who is responsible for monitoring the adherence of schools to the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of Lagos State?”

Yakubu, who served on the SCPAG, replied, “The Ministry of Youth and Social Development is responsible for monitoring it.”

Ajegbomogun told the witness that based on his answer, the SCPAG which formed the fact-finding mission and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development failed to carry out their duties.

She asked the witness, “Would you agree with me that your committee and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development failed woefully in their duty?” and he replied “No.”

She also asked the witness, “Why was there no representation from Agege Stadium in the fact-finding mission?”

Abisogun responded that the fact-finding mission was held for only the management and staff of Chrisland Schools.

The counsel to the second defendant, Richard Ahonaruogho, SAN, followed up in the cross-examination of Abisogun and pointed out to the witness that the fact-finding mission report did not mention anything about Agege Stadium and the committee did not invite the stadium officials.

Ahonaruogho also told the witness that the report did not state that there was an absence of a designated child protection officer which, according to him, was meant to be provided by Chrisland Schools.

The counsel to the second defendant told the witness that Chrisland Schools’ Consultant Child Psychologist, who was also in charge of safety, was exempted from the fact-finding meeting because she was not a member of the school’s management and staff.

He queried Abisogun on the fact that the first defendant, Adewale Ademoye, the Cotton candy vendor at the Agege Stadium, was also exempted from the fact-finding meeting, as well as the parents of the deceased.

Ahonaruogho told the court that the witness did not present any document or evidence to show that the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy has been disseminated to all of the over 1,722 secondary schools (public and private) in the State.

He told the court that Abisogun’s report on the last adjourned date where he stated that Chrisland Schools was insensitive to the situation of the deceased was false.

Ahonaruogho brought out the medical report that showed how the school’s nurse attended to the late Whitney at the Agege Stadium to back up his claim.

Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned the matter to March 21 for continuation of trial.

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