As reactions continue to trail the death of Whitney Adeyemi, a student of Chrisland School, located at Opebi-Ikeja, Lagos State Government has ordered the temporary closure of the school.
The order was contained in a statement by the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, yesterday.
Adefisayo said the closure was ordered pending the outcome of a full investigation into the unfortunate incident.
According to her, “On behalf of the state Ministry of Education, we commiserate with Mr. and Mrs. Adeyemi, parents of Whitney, over the death of their daughter.
“We also note the impact of this unfortunate event on family, friends and acquaintances of Whitney and call for calm as we assure that no effort will be spared in investigating the incident. We, pray for the repose of her soul.”
Meanwhile, controversy is trailing the circumstances surrounding the death of Whitney, whose demise occurred during the school’s sporting competition last Thursday.
This followed claims by some of the students that 12-year-old Whitney was electrocuted, contrary to claims by the management of Chrisland International High School, that she slumped in the full glare of other students and not under any hidden circumstances.
But the bereaved father, Dr. Michael Adeniran, said the battle line had been drawn, as legal action would be filed against the school over its comment that his late daughter was sick.
Some of late Whitney’s schoolmates, who claimed to have witnessed the incident that led to her demise, said she “was electrocuted by a naked wire from a cotton candy machine.”
One of them, in an audio recording on a school group chat, said Whitney and her friend had gone to buy candy at a cotton candy stand that fateful day when tragedy struck.
According to the student, “I don’t know what happened when they got to the stand, whether she placed her hand or leg on something. But, we noticed all of a sudden that a strong force pulled Whitney up and threw her on the ground. That was when people started pouring water on her. Immediately, the owner of the candy stand switched off the machine and ran away through the fence.
“There were no medical personnel to attend to Whitney or administer first aid on her before taking her to the hospital. It was fellow students that were pouring water on her, until the school nurse arrived. The nurse couldn’t do much, so they had to convey her in the school bus since there was no ambulance at the venue.”
But the school exonerated itself from culpability, explaining that its immediate response was to identify the nearest medical facility, where the doctor on duty administered oxygen and every aid possible on her.
The school in a statement by its management said: “The management and staff of Chrisland Schools Limited are heartbroken and distressed over the death of our precious student, Whitney Adeniran, whose painful exit occurred on February 9, 2023.
“Whitney was one of our Day students, who opted not to participate in the Inter-House Sports march-past for reasons we were not very sure about. However, on discretion, we respected her decision to err on the side of caution because on January 20, 2023, it is in our records that she complained about not too buoyant health and we immediately contacted her parents. Her father, Mr. Michael Adeniran, came to the school to take her home. We emphasized to her parents to take a critical look at her.
“It is instructive to state that Whitney slumped in public view and not under any hidden circumstances whatsoever.”
How I found out my daughter died during inter-house sports —Mother
Mrs. Blessing Adeniran, Whitney’s mother, has taken to social media to narrate how she found out her daughter had died.
In the video on her Instagram page, yesterday, the tearful mother said she was told her daughter slumped and had been rushed to the hospital.
Blessing said she immediately rushed to the hospital but had a hard time finding it because she was given the wrong address. However, after she finally located where her daughter was, she said Whitney was already dead and her lips and tongue were black.
Narrating her ordeal, she said: “We drove out of the stadium to the gate, we asked the gatemen (for the hospital), they didn’t know. As we were driving around, we were asking people where we can find Central Hospital but they all said they only knew Agege General Hospital. When we couldn’t locate the place, we decided to go to Agege Central Mosque and on our way to the mosque, we saw the school bus packed, so, we knew we were at the place.
“I jumped down from the car when we saw the school bus and rushed in. I saw the staff that went with her (Whitney) and I asked her ‘Madam, where is my child, what happened, why did she faint,’ she (the staff) said ‘I don’t know, she’s in there’. I went in there and I saw my daughter’s corpse, Desola didn’t say anything to me. I went in there and I met my daughter on her deathbed, she was already dead.
“She was drenched, soaked to the skin, water was dripping. I knelt down, I called on God, I shouted, I screamed. I felt her pulse, there was no pulse. My daughter was silent. I asked the doctor what happened to my daughter and he said from the look of things she suffered from cardiac arrest.
“How does a 12-year-old have a cardiac arrest? No pre-existing heart condition, no pre-existing medical condition. She was hale and hearty, she was not sick in any form. Even if she will die from cardiac arrest, why should one arrest kill a healthy teenager? Let me state this, that by the time I got there, my daughter’s lips and tongue had already turned black.”
Blessing added that her daughter as not taken to a hospital but an immunisation centre, adding that there was no proper first aid management.
She said: “My child was not taken to a hospital, she was taken to an immunisation centre but that is not even my pain. My pain is there was no proper first aid management, there was nothing that was done for her, she was brought to the hospital dead.”
It would be recalled that Michael Adeniran, Whitney’s father had taken to social media on Saturday night to demand a probe into the death of his daughter, calling on the Lagos State government and the police to intervene in the matter, also demanding for Chrisland to explain what actually happened to his daughter.
But Dr. Adeniran, father of the deceased, who addressed newsmen at his Ikeja residence, refuted claims by the school that his daughter was sick.
As a way of unraveling the exact cause of his daughter’s death, he disclosed that he had begun a legal process to ensure justice was served on the matter.
He said: “I gave birth to Whitney in 2010 and since that day till date, my daughter never slept in the hospital.
“If my child was sick, who should know? The teachers in school or the parents that gave birth to her? A child that was healthy, they are telling me that my child was sick and emotional?
“What I’m engaging with Chrisland now is a legal battle. Everything I need to do legally has started and one thing I can guarantee Chrisland is, they should get their lawyers ready while I get mine ready. They are afraid of going to court because they killed my child.
“If they think they know the judges or ministers, I am ready because I have Nigerians right behind me.
“Chrisland should make sure they don’t go and bribe the Pathology Department of Lagos State. They initially told me not to go for an autopsy. But suddenly, they are coming to tell me that I should make sure the autopsy is done, meaning they have gone to bribe their way through. But I will give them a shocker of their life.
“As much as they know what killed my child and are not telling me, the battle line is drawn. They can bribe, whoever, they want to bribe but they won’t escape this. You killed my child and told me she slumped and died. They have forgotten fellow students were there as eyewitnesses and they will talk.
“If they want to shut the mouths of two students, they cannot shut the mouths of 500 students. It can be them tomorrow too.”
Police confirm incident
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the incident yesterday, said the matter was reported to the police immediately after the incident occurred.
He said: “Yes, the case has been reported to the police. It was reported immediately the incident happened on Thursday.
“The case is currently at the State Criminal Investigation Department and an autopsy is going to be carried out to know the circumstances that led to her death. That’s all the update I have for now.”