Chrisland School Violated Child Protection Policy During Its Inter-House Sports Competition -Witness

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Kemisola Oye 

JUSTICE Oyindamola Ogala of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has been told that the Chrisland School, Ikeja, Lagos State violated the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of the state and did not comply with its extant provisions.

Mr Jubril Yakubu, a prosecution witness, told the court today in the ongoing trial of some staff members of Chrisland School, Ikeja who were alleged of negligence over the death of a student, Whitney Adeniran during an inter-house sports competition that was held at the Agege Stadium in Lagos. 

The Lagos State government has filed criminal charges against Chrisland School Limited, Opebi and its principal, vice principal and two others for the death of Whitney on 31 March 2023.

However, at the resumed hearing today, Mr Yakubu, the third prosecution witness, a deputy director with the Ministry of Youth and Social Development in Lagos State, told the court that the ministry’s findings show that the school’s preparedness for the emergency during the inter-house sport was close to none.

Mr Yakubu explained that the school had just one nurse and there was no available ambulance to convey any student to the hospital in case of any emergency or casualty

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel,  the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins, the witness further told the court that the school did not have a designated Child Safeguarding Protection Policy personnel as required by the Safeguarding Executive Order of the state.

“The safety policy demands that there should be a retainer hospital that is close to the venue, but in the case of Chrisland, there was none. The designated Safety Protection Child Policy Officer takes the lead responsibility in terms of risk and every other information surrounding the place of the event of such magnitude but in the case of Chrisland School, they don’t have any.”

Yakubu said that he is the State Coordinator for all the districts in the state, adding that there are over 1, 722 private and public secondary schools, and they are divided into districts based on their locations.

He said that they 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, and we called for an emergency virtual meeting immediately after we heard of the issue.

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

“Then, after the meeting, we invited Chrisland staff and management the next day and they honoured our invitation. In attendance were the principal, Mrs Belinda Amoo, the school nurse, the school instructor, Mr Kuku, Mrs Adebisi, the head of Green House, Mrs Onyema and their counsel.

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

The witness further told the court that it was discovered that the school has over 556 students out of which 377 were prepared to participate. “Over 500 of them were transported to the venue by the school and we discovered that the Safety and Child Protection Policy have been violated because they took the over 500 pupils to the venue without safety clearance.”

Our findings show a case of non-compliance of safeguarding and child protection on the part of the school.” the witness said.

He further stated that they have also investigated a case of bullying regarding a child in Chrisland School and another case of negligence on the students that were taken to Dubai.

Meanwhile, all defendants’ counsel raised objections, stating that the witness was deviating from the subject matter because he was not present when the previous incidents happened.

Justice Ogala subsequently adjourned the case to 13 March 2024 for continuation of trial.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

 

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