A child’s rights organization, the Center for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), has commended the Lagos State Government over the outcome of its findings on the death of Whitney Adeniran.
This is as the organisation called for continued vigilance on prosecution of the incident until justice is done.
Adeniran was a student of Chrisland School in Lagos.
Recall that the 12 year-old Adeniran slumped and died during a school inter-house competition at the Agege Sports Stadium on February 9, 2023.
While multiple sources claimed that she had died by electrocution, the school made contrary claims which made Whitney’s parents Michael and Blessing Adeniran to make several public appearances alleging cover-up by the school and calling for justice for their teenage daughter.
An autopsy conducted by the state government later confirmed that the teenage girl died from electrocution.
She was buried on March 2, 2023.
The Lagos State office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), publicized its legal advice following an investigation, which found the school guilty of manslaughter after which the school and four of its staff were arraigned.
Lagos State Government on March 30, 2023 arraigned Chrisland School Limited, its principal, vice principal and two other employees at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja over Miss Adeniran’s death. That was before the shutting down of the arm of the school in Opebi Lagos where the victim attended and recent reopening for JSS 3 and SS 3 exam-taking students of the school.
Reacting to the development, CEE-HOPE’s Executive Director, Betty Abah, lauded the Lagos State Government for the overall response to Miss Adeniran’s death which she described as tragic and completely preventable. She also called for stringent prosecution of the case to prevent further threat to young and vulnerable lives in the school and all other educational institutions across Lagos and beyond.
“For several years now, Chrisland School has remained constantly in the news for the very wrong reasons, and reasons that are too scandalous for a school. I believe that this continues because they feel that as an elitist school with big financial powers and influence, they are above the law, “she said.
Abah recalled that the school was in the news for its male staff’s sexual molestation of a two-year old (which later ended in the 60-year sentencing for the staff in 2019).
Abah noted in a press statement, she personally signed that
“In 2022, a group of students on an excursion in Dubai were involved in pornographic and sexually explicit activities which were uploaded online and went viral.
“In 2023, Miss Adeniran died under their care, followed by denials and cover-ups before the recent damning verdict from the DPP.
“It is quite concerning that in each of these cases, the first instinct of Chrisland School’s authorities was to cover up with wild lies, alibis and more cover-ups. It is always about their public image and the preservation of their business interests and never about the safety of the children under their duty of care and protection. This is completely unacceptable and they must be told in clear terms that their influence notwithstanding, they must operate under the ambits of the Nigerian law. Indeed, the school must be placed under intense scrutiny.
“All eyes are on the Lagos State Government as far as this case is concerned. The ultimate outcome will send a strong message to all other schools in Lagos and across Nigeria where the safety, protection and overall welfare of children under their care are never a priority. It is also time to carefully scrutinize the operations of schools and ensure their safeguard standards are up-to-date and carefully adhered to,”