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Dust over Chrisland student’s death persists after autopsy, burial

Days after the remains of Chrisland student, Whitney Desola Adeniran, who died of electrocution during the school’s inter-house sports competition, was laid to rest, controversies…

Days after the remains of Chrisland student, Whitney Desola Adeniran, who died of electrocution during the school’s inter-house sports competition, was laid to rest, controversies surrounding her death still persist.

According to an autopsy report, the 12-year-old Whitney Adeniran died as a result of asphyxia and electrocution during the school’s inter-house sports competition held at Agege stadium in Lagos.

This was contrary to the earlier claim by the school management that Whitney slumped and died, most likely as a result of an underlying sickness, a claim that prompted the parents of the late student to demand for an autopsy, which was done at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

However, there were reports of plans to exhume the corpse for another autopsy, allegedly on the request of the school. This request was frowned at by the Lagos State Government as expressed in a statement by the state Ministry of Justice.

“The Lagos State Ministry of Justice is aware of the current ongoing dialogue about the alleged plans to exhume the body of the late Whitney Omodesola Adeniran, a student of Chrisland Schools, whose death as revealed by the autopsy conducted by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital was as a result of asphyxia and electrocution.

“Whilst we have not received any such official communication requesting for exhumation, however, if and when we do receive such a request, we shall be opposed to it,” the statement noted.

The school, however, exonerated itself from the demand for another autopsy, stating that it would continue to cooperate with necessary authorities throughout the investigation period.

In a statement signed by the school management, the school offered their heartfelt apology to the parents of the deceased student, the community that hosts the school and the country in general, stating that their silence on the matter is as a result of opting more for introspection and moral rectitude than strutting around the media space to seize narratives.

“We hereby vehemently refute the claim making the rounds that Chrisland School intends to exhume Whitney’s body. We have no such plan and assure the public that we are also parents in mourning and will not do or subscribe to anything that paints such insensitive optics that prevents our dear daughter from resting. We assure you all that no such thing will happen. Rather than do this, plans are underway to immortalise Whitney’s name so that she can remain indelible in our consciousness. This is without prejudice to the ongoing Coroner inquest; it is an honour we owe her,” it said.

Whitney’s parents unhappy with Chrisland

The parents of the late student have not hidden their displeasure at the ways and manners the school management handled the case.

The father of the late student, Michael Adeniran, in a video uploaded on wife’s Instagram handle, revealed that the school could have taken their daughter to other nearby hospitals instead of the government-owned Agege Central Hospital, where his daughter was pronounced dead.

Adeniran said the hospital was a five-minute drive from the stadium when the roads are free and a ten-minute drive from the stadium during traffic congestions.

He described further that the entrance of the hospital was occupied by a mechanic workshop and stalls of food sellers, making it difficult for an emergency vehicle to make way into the hospital premises.

He said, “This is the so-called well equipped hospital that Chrisland said they took my child to. I can bet you that if you have malaria and come to this hospital, you will not survive it

“I went ahead to look for closer hospitals. Right behind the stadium, there is the Apostolic Church Specialist Hospital, which is a 30-second drive from the stadium, even if you drive slowly. My child was not taken there.

“From the stadium to Isalu Hospitals beside Ay Hotels is just 3 minutes, 54 seconds. From the stadium to County Hospital in Ogba is just 4 minutes. If you are driving in an emergency you could arrive at County Hospital in 3 minutes.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Adeniran, who maintained that Chrisland demanded for another autopsy, has asked the school to take down Whitney’s picture from its official Instagram handle.

She said the school did not mourn her daughter at any point and should not deceptively upload Whitney’s picture as a form of solidarity.

“You never loved her and you are not mourning with me. When she died you still called out mothers to the field to dance. You sent her body to the hospital while you went on your way to the police station to make an official report. She died and your inter-house sports continued. So no you didn’t love her.

“You saw me at the police station and you walked past me. You saw me at the courthouse and you walked past me. You don’t greet me and I don’t greet you. You are not mourning with me.

“You also ordered for another autopsy, stop lying please. So if you say it is not true, either you are lying or your policeman is lying. It is not me and it is not misinformation,” she said.

Disturbing is that Whitney’s death has revived Chrisland’s history of scandals, which has led to protests by concerned parents, as well as an online petition.

In April 2022, the Lagos State Government closed the school temporarily after videos emerged of a female and some male pupils of the school engaging in sexual misconduct during their visit to Dubai, where they represented their school in the World School Game.

A teacher of the school, Adegboyega Adenekan, was convicted in 2018 for raping a two-year-old pupil. Mr Adenekan was sentenced to 60 years in prison. An appeal of the judgement was dismissed in 2020.

Chrisland Schools, which is one of the largest privately-owned educational institutions in Nigeria, was founded in 1977 by Dr Winifred Awosika (OON), who turned 83 on February 13, four days after Whitney’s death.

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