By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The Alumni Association of the Chrisland School, Opebi, Ikeja has written to Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the continuous closure of the school due to the tragic death of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Adeniran, during the school’s inter-house sport.
The association, pleading with the governor to re-open the school, called on the state government to consider the negative effect of the school’s closure on other students and their parents as well.
The association made the plea in a letter titled “Subtle request for the opening of Chrisland School for Academic activities”, which was addressed to the Executive Governor of Lagos State.
The letter, signed by one Mrs Alade BM on behalf of the Chrisland School Alumni Association, was made available to Daily Sun.
In the letter, the association urged the government to reconsider its position and open the school for the continuation of the student’s academic term, purposely for the sake of the 565 innocent students who have been out of school since the ugly and unfortunate incident which they are not the cause, and have no control over.
They held that the school’s closure would amount to a denial of the student’s right to education as enshrined in Chapter II of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria if they are not allowed to continue with their education.
While commiserating with the government and the parents, and guardians of the school, the group said it’s deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Whitney Adeniran as their hearts go to the grieving family of the wonderful child who has been one of the leading lights in the school.
“We need to state here emphatically that due to the sudden death of Adeniran Whitney on 9th February 2023, the management of Christland Schools promptly responded by closing down the school on 10th February 2023, to honour the departed wonderful soul, but surprisingly, the Management of Christland Schools was served with a letter from the Lagos State Ministry of Education on 13th February 2023, that the school had been closed down by the Lagos State Government. Pathetically, the school had been under lock and key and the children had been at home since then.
“In all honesty, as much as we are not against the prompt action of your Excellency for the closure of the school to commiserate with the bereaved parents and to avert any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. We believe that no amount of compensation or sanction against the School can be commensurate with the death of Adeniran Whitney. However, since the closure of the School, not less than 565 students who are potential leaders and determinants of the future of our dear country are at home idle thereby putting their future in jeopardy. The children being adolescents are vulnerable to social vices when they are not properly engaged and we do not want these children to fall prey to societal evils.”
“We, therefore, make a subtle request to your Excellency that it will also be counterproductive if these students remain at home without access to basic education like their counterparts in other schools. We equally appeal to your Excellency as a father to show compassion to these blameless students and allow them to continue their education for the betterment of their lives while giving stern but beneficial policies not only to Chrisland Schools but also to other private and public schools in Lagos to avert any similar future occurrence.
“We have reached out to the parents and guardians and they are all concerned with the future of their children and are eager to hear the resumption date. The parents are also ready to join hands to put in place robust safety policies and protocols at Chrisland School and work with the school to promote a safer and more secure learning environment for all students.
“We have equally received assurances from the Christian School management that it will ensure more than ever before to put in place more precautionary measures that will help in averting such occurrence in future.
“May we also state that we know that there is no amount of plea and consolation that can effectively assuage the pains of Whitney’s parents, especially the mother to whom she was the favourite but we earnestly seek the Lord’s comfort and appeasement which is not only better but greater and more soothing than our mortal pleas and fervent concerns. May the good Lord comfort them all.
“We will like to state categorically here that our demand for the opening of the school was/is not borne out of selfishness or anything personal but out of genuine concern for the future of other students in the school and we pray your Excellency to appreciate our position dispassionately as we understand and commend your excellency for the prompt steps taken on this issue,” the letter reads.