Whitney’s Death: Chrisland School Violated Child Protection Policy – LASG

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On the controversial circumstances over the death of Whitney Adediran, a 12-year-old student of Chrisland School Ikeja, a Deputy Director with the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr Yakubu Abisogun, on Monday, told an Ikeja High Court that the School failed to comply with the State’s safeguarding and child protection policy.

Whitney Adediran was allegedly electrocuted on Feb. 9, 2023, during the school’s inter-house sports competition at the Agege Stadium, Lagos State.

Abisogun, a Level 16 social wellbeing officer, on Monday, told the court that the ministry’s findings showed that the school’s preparedness for emergencies during the inter-house sport was close to none.

He said the school had just one nurse and there was no available ambulance to convey any students to the hospital in case of an emergency situation.

The witness, who was led in evidence by the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins, said he was the state’s coordinator for all the districts.

Martins noted that there were over 1,722 private and public secondary schools, and they were divided into districts based on their locations.

He said the school did not have designated Child Safeguarding Protection Policy personnel as required by the Safeguarding Executive Order of the state.

According to him, the policy demanded that there should be a retainer hospital that was close to the venue but in the case of Chrisland, there was none.

“The designated safety and protection child policy officer takes the lead responsibility in terms of risk and every other information surrounding the place of an event of such magnitude but in case of Chrisland School, they did not have any.

“We got to know about the incident at Chrisland School through social media.

“We have a Safeguarding and Child Protection Alliance group. It comprises all relevant agencies that ensure child safety.

“We called for an emergency virtual meeting immediately we heard of the issue,” he said.

The witness further told the court that findings showed the school had over 556 students out of which 377 were prepared to participate.

Martins said that over 500 of them were transported to the venue by the school and it was discovered that the Safety and Child Protection Policy had been violated because they took over 500 pupils to the venue without safety clearance.

“We concluded to meet physically on Feb. 13, 2023 at the conference room of the Ministry of Education and the meeting was chaired by Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, and other members.

“After the meeting , we invited Chrisland staff and management the next day Tuesday and they honored the invitation.

“In attendance was the principal, Mrs Belinda Amoo, the school nurse, the school’s instructor, Mr Kuku, Mrs Adebisi, the Head of Green House, Mrs Onyema and the legal counsel.

“The meeting was a fact-finding meeting and the intention was for the school to give us firsthand information about what transpired at the inter-house sport and we all asked questions based on our professional knowledge,” he said.

The witness reteirated that the findings showed a case of non-compliance of safeguarding and child protection on the part of the school.

He added that they had investigated a case of bullying regarding a child in the school and another case of negligence on the students that were taken to Dubai.

The defence counsel, however, objected that the witness deviated from the subject matter because he was not present when the previous incident happened.

The Lagos State Government (LASG)  on March 31, 2023, charged Chrisland Schools, its principal and vice principal and two others with the killing of Whitney Adediran.

Those charged alongside the school are Ademoye Adewale (a cotton candy vendor), Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao (Principal) and Victoria Nwatu.

Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned the case until March 13 for continuation of trial

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