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Controversies over death of 6-year-old girl in Abuja school

By Odita Sunday, Abuja
16 November 2022   |   11:37 am
Controversies have continued to trail the death of a 6-year-old child, Modadeoluwa Lawal, after she died at Start Rite school in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, with the family and the Nigerian Police disagreeing on the circumstances that led to the child's demise. While the family of the deceased child claimed that the girl died…

Modadeoluwa Lawal

Controversies have continued to trail the death of a 6-year-old child, Modadeoluwa Lawal, after she died at Start Rite school in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, with the family and the Nigerian Police disagreeing on the circumstances that led to the child’s demise.

While the family of the deceased child claimed that the girl died after drowning during a swimming tutorial, the police disagreed and said that she died as a result of food Aspiration asphyxia.

The family said their claims were based on the footage gotten through the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) installed in the school and that the winning instructor should be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law but the FCT Police exonerated the school and its staff from the death.

A woman, Aderinola Adeleye, who claimed to be a cousin of the deceased girl, rejected claims made by the police, alleging that the law enforcement agency’s intention was to exonerate the school and its staff from what transpired before and after Modadeoluwa’s death.

Adeleye, who expressed the family’s stance through her official social media handle, disclosed that the family had concluded plans to publish the autopsy report to counter police stance.

The cousin to the deceased maintained that the swimming instructor, who tossed her multiple times at the shallow end of the pool, allowing her to hit her head, thereby suffering internal bleeding, must be prosecuted.

She added that the school refused to take responsibility for the incident. According to her, the school has remained open and carried out its activities as if nothing happened.

“Startrite killed my baby cousin! She had swim day in school, and the “coach “was teaching her a stunt, threw her up and she hit her head, and had internal bleeding. We asked for footage and they released a doctored tape,” Adeleye said.

“On the 2nd of November due to the negligent behaviour of the school (Start Rite school) my cousin was killed. We found a way to get evidence from the CCTV footage even though the school deliberately tried to cut the scenes of what exactly happened. Our efforts to access justice have been frustrated by the school. All we want is justice. She was only 6 years. #justiceforModadeoluwa.”

Another member of the family, who identified himself as David, said: “My little cousin had a swim day at school apparently, the coach advised her to swim as far as possible and swim back, but when she got back he tossed her multiple times in the air at the shallow side of the pool, she hit her head and had internal bleeding.

“Even with that, the coach was all the while pushing her in, we later requested the CCTV film and when we arrived, we saw them doctoring the tape. Presently the school is open like nothing happened and they aren’t assuming responsibility as well as misleading different guardians.”

Efforts made to reach the school management for comments were not successful, rather the FCT Police Command disclosed that investigations so far revealed that the child didn’t die by drowning but as a result of food aspiration asphyxia.

According to a statement by the FCT Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Josephine Adeh, “on November 2, Modade Lawal had a swim day as part of the school curriculum and had earlier celebrated her birthday that same day before hitting the pool in the company of other pupils, under the supervision of the Lifeguards, instructors, and teachers.

“At about 11:45 am, while being coached, the instructor noticed she wasn’t properly responding as she naturally would, he stopped and brought her out of the 4-2 feat deep poolside to examine her and noticed she was having difficulties in breathing

The Command spokesperson further reiterated the school medical team was alerted and she was taken to the hospital where she sustained a series of further heart attacks. The Doctor struggled to revive her but she was confirmed dead at about 6:45 pm of the same day.