From college to grave_ Mother and father battle proprietors over rising deaths of pupils

On this report, GODFREY GEORGE examines avoidable deaths of schoolchildren and the allegations of negligence and brutality towards college homeowners and academics

Because the skies opened as much as welcome the morning solar of Thursday, February 9, 2023, 12-year-old Whitney Adeniran rushed out of her Lagos house to the sound of her horning college bus.

She kissed her mum, Blessing, goodbye and jumped onto the bus headed for the Agege stadium the place her college, Chrisland Worldwide College, was set to have an inter-house sports activities occasion.

That was the final time Blessing noticed her daughter alive. Though the younger mum attended the occasion to observe her daughter take part within the march-past parade by her sports activities home, she was shocked that her daughter was nowhere to be discovered.

Involved by the event, Blessing mentioned she scanned by way of the stadium for her baby, asking employees and college students about her daughter’s whereabouts however nobody appeared to know the place she was.

Nonetheless, within the search, a pupil who knew Whitney informed Blessing that her daughter had slumped and was rushed to a hospital for remedy.

Mrs Adeniran, who went dwell on Instagram to precise her worries, mentioned she was shocked to study of her baby’s situation by way of one other pupil.

Shedding tears in a now trending video, she mentioned, “No ambulance, no physician, no nurse. There was no emergency provision on the bottom in a spot the place you’ve got over 500 college students and 100 dad and mom.”

Operating to fulfill a employees member, streams of tears raced down her cheeks.

In response to her, the employee informed her Whitney had been ferried to the Agege Central Hospital, assuring her that she was in protected fingers.

“I shortly referred to as my husband and he mentioned I ought to go to the hospital and that he would make a couple of calls and meet me there.

“I introduced my telephone and put it on Google map and typed in ‘Agege Central Hospital’ and nothing popped up. What I noticed was ‘Agege Central Mosque.’

“I mentioned ‘Ma, it isn’t exhibiting (arising on the map)’ and she or he mentioned, ‘Don’t fear; simply ask round and they’re going to let you know the place it’s’.”

As she drove out of the gate in confusion about what to do as even the gatemen appeared to not know the place the hospital was, she was in apprehension.

She drove to the Agege Central Mosque, alighted and commenced to ask everybody if that they had seen her daughter.

Within the search, near the mosque was the varsity bus that carried Whitney to the hospital.

Whitney is useless

As she rushed into the hospital, to her utmost shock, she discovered the lifeless physique of her 12-year-old on a mattress.

In response to her, Whitney’s lips and tongue had blackened as her physique was drenched with water.

“I knelt, I referred to as on God, I shouted, I screamed. After I felt her pulse, there was none. My daughter was silent.

“I requested the physician what occurred to my daughter and he mentioned from the look of issues, she suffered from cardiac arrest,” she added.

Faulting the physician’s prognosis, Blessing within the dwell video acknowledged that it was a shock how a wholesome 12-year-old younger woman would endure a cardiac arrest with none pre-existing coronary heart or medical situation.

“My ache is there was no correct first assist administration; there was nothing that was completed for her; she was delivered to the hospital useless,” the grieving mom mentioned, crying uncontrollably.

My daughter was electrocuted – Father

The grieving father, Michael, claimed he had proof that his daughter was electrocuted.

He, nevertheless, sought public intervention to unravel the circumstances surrounding his daughter’s demise whereas she took half within the sporting occasions on the Agege Stadium.

In a Fb put up, he demanded a probe and urged the Lagos State Authorities to intervene within the matter so justice might prevail.

“I’m calling on the pathology division of @lasuth (Lagos State College Educating Hospital) to please be sincere with their consequence. Lagos State Authorities, Nigeria Authorities, please, intervene,” he added.

Talking additional on the matter to BBC Pidgin, he mentioned, “She (Whitney) died from a unadorned wire from one cotton sweet vendor machine. After she touched it, she was electrocuted instantly.

“I’ve documented proof that my baby died of electrocution and never cardiac arrest as Chrisland College claimed,” the aggrieved father mentioned.

Whitney slumped, Chrisland insists

The administration of Chrisland Colleges Restricted, nevertheless, denied Michael’s allegation, insisting that Whitney slumped whereas on the stadium.

Commiserating with the Adenirans, in a press release, the varsity described the pupil’s demise as a painful loss.

The varsity additionally claimed that a couple of weeks earlier, the younger woman had complained of a ‘not-too-buoyant well being’ and her father, Michael, was invited to take her for some medical examinations.

Chrisland additionally confused that the 12-year-old slumped in “public view” and never beneath any hidden circumstances.

“We’re heartbroken and distressed. Whitney was certainly one of our day college students who opted to not take part within the inter-house sports activities march previous for causes we weren’t very certain of.

“Nonetheless, on discretion, we revered her resolution to err on the facet of warning, as a result of on January 20, 2023, it’s in our information that she complained about not-too-buoyant well being and we instantly contacted her dad and mom.

“Her father, Mr Michael Adeniran, got here to the varsity to take her house. We emphasised to her dad and mom to take a crucial have a look at her.

“Our speedy response was to reap the benefits of proximity to first-aid by figuring out the closest medical facility to take her to, the place the physician on responsibility administered oxygen and each assist attainable to her.

“We instantly notified regulatory stakeholders and companies to permit for a complete analysis and evaluation of the developments.

“As we await the end result of an impartial autopsy course of, we stay unwaveringly dedicated to supporting the household at this crucial second and pray fervently for the fortitude to bear her painful loss,” the assertion mentioned partly.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, when contacted by Saturday PUNCH, mentioned the case was nonetheless being investigated as an post-mortem had been performed.

“The investigation is ongoing however the true motive behind her demise will not be but ascertained. When it’s ascertained, I’ll let you already know. I don’t wish to take heed to rumour,” Hundeyin mentioned.

The LASG additionally ordered that the varsity be shut down, pending the end result of an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the demise of the pupil.

The state Commissioner for Info and Technique, Gbenga Omotoso, confirmed the event, stating that the case can be totally investigated.

Mother and father lament unsafe surroundings

Many dad and mom who spoke to Saturday PUNCH expressed worry as to how children have gotten endangered species.

A mom of 1, Mrs Folashade Clement, mentioned she referred to as her son’s college virtually each hour to test on him.

“The varsity directors are uninterested in me. I even had to purchase my nine-year-old son a telephone, which I gave to the varsity head trainer so he might name himself if he felt uneasy or threatened by any pupil or trainer whereas within the college.

“I’ve realized from the instances of many dad and mom right here who give faculties their wholesome youngsters solely to be referred to as later to be informed tales. I’m not certain I’ll survive the ache,” she mentioned.

One other mom, Mrs Nathaniel Shaibu, mentioned her youngsters can be home-schooled until they had been able to go to secondary college.

“I’ve twin boys and each of them are going to be home-schooled until they’re able to go to secondary college. I’m grateful my husband helps my resolution. We’ve house academics who come and educate them. They focus extra and have extra time to relaxation. An important factor is that I all the time have my eyes on them, and if I’m not there, the CCTV digital camera displays what occurs to them 24/7.

“I gave delivery to them by way of a Caesarian part. The very last thing I wish to hear is a few college calling to inform me that my sons have slumped or are useless. I cannot be myself for all times,” she added.

Flogged to demise on birthday eve

Grief has not left the household of Mr and Mrs Amidu, dad and mom to a Junior Secondary College two pupil of Easy Religion Colleges, Agbara, Lagos State, Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel-Amidu, who fell ailing and died on Might 16, 2022, after he was allegedly canned by a trainer for not finishing his arithmetic task.

The boy’s father, Akinola, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH 9 months after the incident, mentioned he nonetheless noticed his useless son in his goals each time he slept, stressing that he had but to simply accept the truth of his demise.

Tobiloba died only a day earlier than his twelfth birthday.

Narrating what led to his son’s demise, Akinola mentioned after the demise of his elder brother to a quick sickness a couple of days earlier than, he was granted go away to mourn and put together for his burial.

“I used to be at house when my son got here again from college and mentioned he was given an task. I informed him to make use of the WiFi at house. He mentioned he would relaxation just a little after which get up later to do it. When he woke as much as do it, it was found that the information bundle on the WiFi had been exhausted. That was on Thursday night, Might 12.

“He requested if he might use my telephone for the task, however I informed him that since we had been utilizing photo voltaic, it might not be attainable for him to take action at the moment as a result of it might go off.

“Nonetheless, his elder sister, Rachael, who’s in Senior Secondary College 1 determined to assist him with the task, in order that they each went into the room.

“As they had been inside, Emmanuel got here out to ask for an train guide because the one he was utilizing had been exhausted and I promised to purchase it for him the following day.

“The varsity has a coverage that college students should purchase books from them, so I gave him some cash the following morning to purchase two notebooks and use the steadiness for lunch. I’ve a CCTV digital camera in my home. This stuff I’m saying will be proved if footage of the occasions is requested by the authorities,” he mentioned.

Out of the six sums, Emmanuel was solely capable of full 4 at house as theleaves from his pocket book had been exhausted.

At college, he was mentioned to have gotten a brand new guide and was getting the opposite two sums completed when his trainer reportedly requested for the task solely to understand that almost all of the pupils didn’t do it.

This, in keeping with Akinola, infuriated the trainer and he started to flog the erring pupils.

Persevering with, the daddy mentioned, “From what I gathered, the day prior to this when he first taught the Arithmetic subject, he solely gave them one instance on the board, and as he was attempting to elucidate with one other, his instructing interval obtained exhausted so he needed to go away.

“He then gave the scholars the remainder of the train as an task. It appeared numerous them didn’t even perceive it, in order that they introduced it again to him. Due to this, he picked up his cane and flogged them, together with my son.”

He mentioned the trainer claimed to have canned Emmanuel six instances on his left palm however the boy cried uncontrollably and rested his head on the desk.

“In case you are a superb trainer and a mother or father, are you not purported to test on him to see if he’s okay?” the grieving father requested.

Akinola claimed that Emmanuel, out of worry, couldn’t inform the trainer how he was feeling, so he begged his seatmate to name his elder sister, Rachael.

“On seeing him, his head was on the desk and he was having a excessive temperature. His sister and an English trainer managed to take him out and poured water on his head.

“As soon as they did this, I learnt he started to vomit. They saved pouring water on him and requested him to take a seat down. The elder sister needed to name me however they informed her that they might be those to name and inform me.

“From what I do know, they didn’t take him to a clinic. Though they claimed that they gave him some remedy to cease the vomiting, I came upon from one of many individuals near the matter that they didn’t accomplish that,” Akinola added.

It was a neighbour’s baby who used to journey on the identical motorbike with the Amidus to highschool who reportedly sneaked into the bathroom and referred to as the daddy that Emmanuel had been vomiting and couldn’t speak and stroll.

Mr Amidu mentioned when he noticed his son, the boy couldn’t increase his fingers or speak.

He was taken to a hospital the place docs, after administering drugs and transfusing blood, mentioned he may need fallen.

The daddy mentioned he paid the sum of N80,000 for an ambulance on the personal clinic to maneuver the kid to the Lagos College Educating Hospital, the place a capillary was handed for him to move out urine as his bladder was full.

At LUTH, Akinola mentioned the docs put Emmanuel on oxygen and commenced to take out the surplus blood from his mind by way of his nostril as they scribbled some issues on paper.

“I used to be there and I noticed my son mendacity lifelessly. My son was lively that very same morning!” he mentioned and went mute for an additional minute, combating again tears. After a couple of moments, the boy was confirmed useless.

Boy died from vomiting, college tells police

When the matter was reported to the Morogbo Police Station, Agbara, by the varsity, the principal mentioned Emmanuel died from vomiting as he was solely canned six instances by the trainer.

Disagreeing, the daddy mentioned, “How can someone simply die from vomiting if nothing triggered it?

“When the principal alongside the Arithmetic trainer, who beat my son, got here to my home, I didn’t contact them. They will attest to that. I used to be there with my spouse. I used to be even begging them to inform me the reality about what occurred to my wholesome son, who went to their college that Thursday, however they had been dodging.

“So, I’ve accepted my destiny. My son is useless and there may be nothing I can do about it. God offers, and God takes. I’m nonetheless mourning my son.”

Loss of life on college bus

In July, two pupils of a college in Aguda, Surulere, misplaced their lives whereas on the varsity bus.

They had been mentioned to have entered the automobile on their method again and complained of ‘not feeling too effectively’ however the driver ignored the repeated complaints from the children till it was too late.

The state police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin, informed Saturday PUNCH that from all indications, it was a case of suffocation.

“A college bus driver ignored repeated complaints from the children he was taking house that they weren’t feeling effectively.

“Lots of them handed out and had been rushed to a hospital; they had been capable of resuscitate others however two died,” Hundeyin had mentioned.

Two months earlier than the Aguda incident, a five-year-old pupil of the Redeemers Nursery and Major College, Ogba, Lagos State, Chidera Eze, drowned throughout a swimming lesson organised by the varsity within the Ikeja space of the state.

Some academics and caregivers of the varsity reportedly took Chidera and his colleagues for the swimming lesson on the Ivory Well being Membership, Ogundana Road, Ikeja.

Through the coaching, Chidera and his colleagues had been enjoying on the tip of the pool when he slipped into it.

His father, Anthony, mentioned the academics, caregivers and lifeguards weren’t conscious that his son had fallen into the pool till he drowned.

“My son was beneath the water for over 30minutes. We had been all shouting as we noticed the CCTV footage. […] no one seen my son was contained in the water,” the daddy mentioned amid tears.

This made the federal government shut down the varsity for a couple of weeks as they investigated.

However Saturday PUNCH can affirm that the varsity has been reopened.

As of the time of this report, the varsity had but to react to the matter though Chidera’s mom, Nkiru, mentioned the varsity held a memorial service for the five-year-old with out the data of the dad and mom.

Preventable deaths

Not less than 2,445 ladies and youngsters die every single day from preventable causes in Nigeria, in keeping with information from the Federal Ministry of Well being on Nationwide Maternal and Youngster Well being.

The ministry revealed that 70 per cent of the deaths had been preventable.

In response to the information, 2,300 youngsters beneath 5 die every single day from preventable causes in Nigeria.

Educationists,baby rights specialists

A Rivers State-based academic administrator, Mrs Sowanari Jumbo, urged faculties to watch out when dealing with pupils put of their care.

She mentioned, “Academics and college counselors and directors have to ensure they totally examine a baby as quickly as he/she is introduced in by a mother or father or guardian.

“If attainable, ask the mother or father to supply a month-to-month medical certificates of health for the kid to make certain that the kid is mentally and bodily high quality. There was a case right here I used to be referred to as to deal with the place a younger boy had reportedly fallen right into a effectively after college. However, since he was nonetheless in his college uniform and had not obtained house, the dad and mom held the varsity accountable. Colleges should present duty.

“We’re speaking about lives right here. The destinies of those youngsters are put in your care and shouldn’t be smashed on the bottom due to negligence.”

She additionally inspired dad and mom to not take their youngsters’s well being as a right earlier than they dropped them off in school and after they picked them up.

“If it’s a boarding college, ensure you present your baby with technical help to allow them to attain you after they really feel unwell and the varsity will not be treating them the way in which they should be handled. Be sure you have that one trainer that may name you to come back to take your baby house.

“If it’s a day college, every single day you decide your baby up, test them right down to their personal components to make sure they’re okay. Ask them crucial questions on what could have transpired in class. They are going to let you know. Simply ensure you are taking notes. Don’t take any criticism out of your baby as a right. He/she could have an underlying illness that will have escaped the physician’s prognosis,” she confused.

One other educationist based mostly in Lagos, Mr Aniedi Akpan, urged faculties to supply safety cameras and a functioning sickbay on their premises to care for youngsters who may fall ailing throughout college time.

He mentioned, “Colleges usually are not hospitals however they want that first level of name to make sure whether or not to take the kids straight to a clinic or name their dad and mom to take action. A standby physician, certified nurse, pharmacist and laboratory scientist should be on responsibility to make sure they run the mandatory assessments.

“As soon as something is seen within the prognosis, name the dad and mom and refer the kid to a hospital.”

He additionally urged academics to be kinder to their college students.

“I don’t help corporal punishments in any respect. Simply communicate to the kid or report back to the administration which mustn’t fail to contain the dad and mom. Don’t flog anyone’s baby earlier than you find yourself implicating your self in a case you could not know something about,” he added.

One other academic administrator and a baby rights skilled, Mrs Mercy Chepaka, urged dad and mom to undergo the varsity any situation, together with allergic reactions, their youngsters may need.

“Don’t take it as a right {that a} baby is allergic to cobwebs or nuts or milk. Inform the varsity. Make it clear to them on admission what and what your baby doesn’t take,” she mentioned.

She begged academics to not set off youngsters who may flaunt their directives regardless of how indignant they may appear.

Chepaka mentioned, “It might be irritating however, with my years of expertise, I’ve come to understand that the perfect individual to self-discipline a baby is the dad and mom. Academics should study to know when to scold a baby. I’ve realized of a kid who was scolded and she or he fell and began to jerk, and when she was taken to a hospital, she had died.

“The docs mentioned she had a uncommon type of epilepsy, and the trainer who scolded that baby was not conscious.

“Caring for a Twenty first-century baby will be tough however as academics, college admins and fogeys, we should realise that the kid isn’t just a commodity. He/she is a present from God and should be handled with utmost care.”

A Lagos-based well being and security skilled, Mr Promise Rowland, mentioned faculties should present a protected surroundings by having fireplace extinguishers and functioning CCTV cameras.

“The one method faculties can defend themselves earlier than a court docket in case of an accident is to current footage from the CCTV cameras. Many faculties fall wanting this,” he mentioned.

Rowland additionally urged faculties to check the general health of pupils as soon as a time period started to make sure the kid was match for the varsity’s actions.

In case of inter-house sports activities, he urged faculties to tell dad and mom in writing for specific permission for his or her children to be a part of the train.

“I counsel faculties to insist that the dad and mom connect a latest certificates of health for his or her children, which can be independently assessed by the varsity’s medical personnel.

“Regardless of how wholesome a baby appears to be like, by no means assume the kid is wholesome until a medical examination certifies them so,” he added.

He additionally urged faculties to, within the case of a swimming train, go together with a minimal of 10 pupils per session, who can be accompanied by, no less than, 5 academics who can be connected to 2 children.

“This fashion, no baby can be ‘left within the pool by mistake’ like we hear these faculties say.

“No college ought to take youngsters swimming with out the specific permission of their dad and mom.

“Lifeguards must also be offered on the bottom to rescue youngsters who could also be drowning. In truth, till a baby turns 10, they shouldn’t be allowed to hitch the varsity’s swimming group for any motive. This can be a piece of private skilled recommendation,” he famous.

In the meantime, a authorized practitioner, Mr Hussaini Hussaini, mentioned it was “heartbreaking and disturbing” to lose a baby.

He inspired dad and mom to hunt authorized redress in the event that they weren’t snug with the reasons provided by faculties.

He mentioned, “These grieving dad and mom should take all the mandatory steps to make it possible for the deaths of their youngsters don’t go in useless. Step one is to report back to the police and never take the regulation into their fingers.

“We’ve had numerous instances of youngsters dying in these controversial circumstances on a regular basis. If it isn’t molestation of youngsters, it’s deadly accidents or medical controversies.

“The extra issues occur and the federal government doesn’t take motion, the extra there may be the tendency of individuals to take the regulation into their fingers in the long term.

“The federal government has an enormous responsibility to ensure persons are held accountable. No one is above the regulation.”

He additionally urged dad and mom and guardians to file for damages or compensation whether or not they select to settle in or out of court docket.

A senior psychologist on the Remz Institute, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Usen Essien, suggested grieving dad and mom to hunt skilled remedy.

Usen mentioned, “For folks who’ve misplaced youngsters in class as a result of negligence on the a part of the varsity, or for no matter motive, they may undergo the 5 levels of grief as articulated by a Swiss-American psychiatrist and pioneer of research on dying individuals, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

“The primary is denial. Then, anger comes proper earlier than bargaining and earlier than despair units in. At this stage, skilled remedy is required earlier than the final state, which is acceptance, or else the dad and mom could start to develop some psychological imbalance or hallucination. For this reason you hear individuals say they see their useless family members calling them in goals and the like.”