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‘I didn’t investigate Whitney’s medication’, mother tells court



Mrs Blessing Adeniran, mother of a late student of Chrisland Schools, Opebi, Lagos, testified on Wednesday at the trial of the school and four others for involuntary manslaughter before an Ikeja High Court.

She was led in evidence by Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Adewale Martins, and cross-examined by defence counsel, including Chief Richard Ahonaruogho (SAN).

The 12-year-old student was allegedly electrocuted on Feb. 9, 2023, during the school’s inter-house sports at the Agege Stadium, Lagos State.

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

During her cross-examination by Ahonaruogho, the bereaved mother said that she did not know the effects of the combination of nitrazepam and amitriptyline drugs.

NAN reports that the drugs were mentioned in a report dated February 16 by Inland Specialist Hospital (Exhibit PW1 (B)) before the court.

The drugs were prescribed for the late student on Jan. 20, 2023, by Inland Specialist Hospital, when the witness and her husband took the deceased to the hospital for treatment.

The witness said that the school principal had called her on the same day and told her that her daughter was ill and having difficulty breathing.

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

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

According to the witness, when her daughter’s vital signs were checked at the hospital, the doctor told her parents that she was alright and asked if she had school examinations that could warrant mild anxiety, but the parents told the doctor that she was rather preparing for inter-house sports.

The witness said that she did not know what the drugs were meant to treat.

Ahonaruogho had asked if she was aware that the drugs were meant to treat panic disorder, severe anxiety, and insomnia, and the witness answered in the negative.

She told the court that she was mourning her daughter and did not consider finding out any effects of the drugs.

When asked if she was told at the Agege Central Hospital and Diagnostics Ltd. that her daughter died possibly due to cardiac arrest, the witness said that she was told.

NAN reports that the late student was reportedly taken to the hospital from the stadium when she fell.

Ahonaruogho asked the witness if she was also told that there was a possible electrocution of the student, to which she replied in the negative.

The counsel told the witness that Nitrazepam was meant to treat panic disorder, severe anxiety, and insomnia, while Amitriptyline was to treat depression.

He asked the witness if she knew about the facts, and the witness said that she did not know.

The counsel said that a combination of the drugs administered, especially to a young person, could result in death.

He asked if the witness was aware, to which she said, “I do not know.”

The counsel also asked if the deceased had visited other hospitals before Inland Specialist Hospital.

The witness said that, apart from the hospital where she was born, she only visited one other hospital for an eye checkup.

Ms Bimpe Ajegbomogun, counsel to Ademoye Adewale, asked the witness if she was in charge of administering the drugs prescribed for the late student, and she responded, ”Yes.”

Meanwhile, the witness told the court that on the morning of February 9, 2023, the deceased made breakfast.

The counsel asked if the witness was aware of a Snapchat group known as ‘Housewives of Lagos’ of which the deceased was a member.

She also asked the witness how she knew about it.

The witness said: “On Feb. 11, 2023, I had not slept since Feb. 9, 2023; so, my husband asked me to try and get some sleep; otherwise, I might collapse.

“I went to bed and placed my phone and that of my daughter beside me.

“Her phone started buzzing with incoming messages, and I called my husband to take the phone because I had severe headaches.

“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 messages in which members of the group were discussing how she was electrocuted.”

Ajegbomogun asked if her husband was the first person to mention that their daughter died of electrocution, to which the witness replied in the negative.

Earlier, Martins, who led the witness in evidence, asked her how she got to know that her daughter fell and also asked her what actions she took.

The witness told the court that she went to the stadium and did not see her daughter participate in any of the sports.

She said that she consequently got worried and began to search for her, adding that the search led her to Agege Central Hospital and Diagnostics Ltd., where she found her lifeless body.

The judge adjourned the case until Thursday (Jan. 25) for the continuation of the cross-examination of the witness. (NAN)

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