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Whitney: PW 4 Testifies

The Lagos State Safety Commission (LASG) Safety, on Thursday, told a Lagos High Court Ikeja, that the management of Chrisland Schools Opebi, failed to take a compulsory risk assessment test by the Commission.

A Safety Officer with the commission, Engr. Wahab Ariyo, disclosed this at the resumed trial of Chrisland School Opebi and four of its staff on charges bordering on causing the death of a student. of the school.

Ariyo was testifying as fourth witness for the prosecution (PW4) before Justice Oyindamola Ogala

Lagos State Government had on March 31, 2023, arraigned Chrisland School Ltd, and four of its staff, over the death of a 12-year-old student, Whitney Adeniran, who died during the school’s inter-house sport.

The staff of the school arraigned were Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Belinda Amao, and Victoria Nwatu.

The defendants were said to have allegedly caused the death of Adeniran on Feb. 9, 2023, at about 1 p.m. in Agege Sports Stadium, Agege, Lagos, by acting in a reckless and negligent manner that endangered her life.

Trial had since commenced in the case with the prosecution still leading witnesses in evidence.

When the case was called on Thursday, The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Dr. Babajide Martins, called his fourth witness (Ariyo).

Ariyo introduced himself as an Engineer and safety officer with LASG Safety.

He told the court that the schedule of duty of his office, involved responding to emergencies in the state, as well as investigating accidents and incidents to uncover the root and immediate causes of incidents.

In relation to the instant charge, the witness told the court that the commission conducted investigations to ascertain the root cause of the fatality and to make recommendations to avoid further occurrences.

According to Ariyo, it is important to obtain Event Safety Permit for schools and public events having 250 guests.

He said that this permit is obtained by visiting the commission's website to register the event, after which the commission gets notified in its office, while an officer will be sent from the events department to the facility, to conduct basic assessments.

The witness told the court that the commission then gives its requirements of things to put in place to avoid accident or emergencies at such events.

"Once we carryout risk assessment and all requirements are met, we then issue a permit," he said

According to the witness, on the day of the event, the commission sends out marshals from its office to ensure that all safety conditions are in place.

Meanwhile. the witness told the court that for events with over 250 guests, there are further protocols like:

"Ensuring availability of Ambulance, First aiders, as well as fire fighting equipments"

On the Chrisland School fatality, he told the court that the commission became aware on Feb. 13, 2023, and had visited the scene at Agege stadium with a joint team of some MDAs, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, and the DSVA..

He said that the visit was to ascertain what went wrong , adding that on arrival, they discovered that most of the evidences had been tampered with, so, the team took photos, and interrogated the school management and those who witnessed the event.

The witness said that fortunately for the team, there was another school hosting their inter house spot at same Agege stadium venue, adding that it was an opportunity to have a feedback of what happened as there were also vendors at the scene.

On what his findings were at the scene he said "Our findings were:

1) The school failed to obtain event permit from the Lagos safety commission, 2) No risk assessment was conducted, 3) No Ambulance service was available, 4) poor emergency management system, 5) poor emergency communication, 6) No retainership hospital close to event center"

He told the court that a second visit made to the scene was solely done by the commission, and it was to ascertain the claim by the school, that the candy machine was not close to event scene.

The witness said that their second visit showed that the candy machine was close. to the scene.
"
"We also discovered that no restrictions was made to the vendors using power generating sets, and as a result, there was the possibility of straying wires dangling around.

"So, that confirmed our initial findings that no risk assessment was done," he said

The witness told the court that if same had been done earlier, all the safety infractions would have been noticed, and recommendations made to close the gaps.

Besides, he told the court that the findings also revealed that a school bus was used instead of an ambulance which should have at least three certified nurses.

"We also noticed that the school had only one first aider which is the school nurse, and this is not acceptable; There was also no safety marshal," he said.

At this point, the DPP sought an adjournment to enable him tendered Certified True Copies (CTC) of some documents.

Trial will resume on July 1.

The alleged offences for which the defendants are standing trial. violates the provisions of sections 224 and 251 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015.

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