Christland School: I Met Lifeless Body of My Daughter on the Hospital Bed, Mother Claims

Funke Olaode

In continuation of the negligence case filed by the Lagos State Government on March 31, 2023,  against the management of Christland School, Opebi, Lagos, over the death of Whitney Adeniran, who was allegedly electrocuted at the Agege Stadium during the school’s inter-house sports on February 9, 2023, the deceased mother, Mrs. Blessing Adeniran, was at Ikeja High Court yesterday to testify on what transpired on that fateful day.

The defendants were arraigned before Justice Oyindamola Ogala. Those charged alongside the school included Ademoye Adewale (a cotton candy vendor), Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao (Principal), and Victoria Nwatu.

Adeniran, who was being cross-examined by counsel to the second defendant, Richard Ahonaruogho (SAN), went back to a sudden phone call from the management of the school on January 20, 2023, when the deceased fell ill during school hours.

She said it was not a life-threatening ailment as the husband picked her up and took her to the Inland Specialist Hospital where she was examined, and the doctor said she suffered a ‘mild anxiety’ and was prescribed drugs.

Asking further, the counsel asked Adeniran whether she knew that the combination of Nitrazepam and Amitriptyline, which were prescribed by the doctor when the deceased fell in on January 20 were toxic, which might have triggered or worsened her health?

Adeniran responded that she was not aware that the prescriptions were toxic because it was a ‘mild anxiety,’ according to the doctor.

As a mother, she said she followed the dose prescribed diligently and did not investigate to know the side effects of the drugs mentioned in a report by the Inland Specialist Hospital (exhibit PW1 (B)) dated February 16, 2023.

The mother, while giving evidence before Justice Ogala of the Ikeja High Court, stood her ground that her daughter was hale and hearty before she was picked up by the school driver, Saheed, that day by 6:45a.m.

On whether the deceased had any lingering health issues, Adeniran said no, that she was healthy girl. And when the principal reached out on January 20, 2023, to tell her that Whitney was ill and was having difficulty breathing, my husband went to the school to pick her.

“I called my husband to inform him because I was at the gym, he picked her from school and took her to the hospital and he said I should join them there.

“I went to the hospital and met Whitney and her dad playing a game with his phone, and I said she seemed fine to me. I also said they like going to the hospital and we laughed over it.”

She said when Whitney’s vitals were checked, the doctor told them that she was okay, and asked if she had examination in school that would warrant mild anxiety, but the Adenirans told the doctor that Whitney was preparing for inter-house sports

Probing further during cross-examinations, Ahonaruogho asked if she was aware that the drugs were meant to treat panic disorder, severe anxiety and insomnia, the witness answered in the negative.

Adeniran told the court that she was mourning her daughter’s death and did not consider investigating the drugs as very important at that moment.

When asked if she was told at the Agege Central Hospital and Diagnostic Limited, where the deceased was alleged to have been taken from the stadium, that it was possibly cardiac arrest, witness answered yes.

Ahonaruogho asked if she was also told that there was a possible electrocution, she answered in the negative.

He told the witness that Nitrazepam was meant to treat panic disorder, severe anxiety and insomnia, while Amitriptyline is to treat depression, and asked if she was aware of these, the witness said she did not know.

The counsel said the combination of the drugs administered, especially in a young person, was a death sentence and asked if the witness was aware, she said: “I do not know.”

The counsel also asked if the deceased had visited other hospitals before Inland Specialist Hospital, the witness answered that apart from Obitoks  Hospital, Oke-Odo, where she was delivered, she only visited another hospital for an eye checkup.

Ms. Bimpe Ajegbomogun, counsel to Ademoye Adewale, first defendant, asked the witness if she was in charge of administering the drugs prescribed, and she responded yes.

Meanwhile, the witness told the court that on the morning of Feburary 9, 2023, she heard sounds from the kitchen, and when she inquired, it was the deceased making breakfast.

Ajegbomogun asked if the sound she heard was scary, but Adesina informed the court that it was not, and that the cooking was a noisy activity with pots and spoons.

Counsel asked if the witness was aware of the Snapchat group know as ‘Housewives of Lagos’, which Whitney was a member and how she got to know about it?

 Witness said: “It was on February 11, 2023, and I had not slept since February  9, 2023, so my husband asked to get some sleep otherwise I might collapse, so I went to bed and placed my phone and that of Whitney beside me.

“Whitney’s phone started buzzing with incoming messages and I called my husband to take the phone because I had severe headache; the phone was locked so he asked who knew the password.

“My younger sister said she knew and opened the phone that was how he saw the messages where the members of the group were discussing about how Whitney was electrocuted.”

Ajegbomogun asked if Whitney’s father was the one who first mentioned that she died of electrocution, the witness said no.

Earlier, Dr. Babajide Martins, the Director, Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP), had led the witness in examination asking her how she got to know that Whitney fell and what actions she took.

Adeniran said she got to the stadium but did not see Whitney participating in any of the match past, and was worried and went looking for her daughter which led her to the Agege Central Hospital where she found her lifeless body.

The mother said her fears were allayed when the principal told her that there was no cause for alarm, that she fainted but she came around before she was taken to the hospital, and ‘that she will be fine’, but was brought to the hospital dead in company of the school nurse.

Meanwhile, Mr. Olukayode Enitan (SAN), counsel to the third defendant, prayed for an adjournment for continuation of cross-examination.

Justice Ogala, thereafter, adjourned the matter to January 25 for continuation of cross-examination.

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