The Coroner’s inquest into the tragic death of Adebola Akin-Bright, the 12-year-old boy whose small intestine was reported to have gone missing, commenced on Friday at the Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrate court in Lagos. Akin-Bright passed away on September 9 following corrective surgery performed at LASUTH.
Presided over by His Honour Mrs. Bola Folarin-Williams, the District Coroner, the inaugural hearing saw significant developments in the ongoing investigation.
Mr. O.A. Akinde, the Lagos State counsel, informed the court that necessary tests and examinations had been conducted on the deceased’s body, and a post-mortem report is available. He also acknowledged the letters from solicitors to the father of the deceased, who seeks to preserve the corpse, and the mother, who wishes to have the body released for burial. Akinde affirmed the state’s neutrality on these requests, indicating that the court would make the final decision.
In response, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, counsel to the complainant, expressed the desire to call the Medical Director of Hobitox Medical Centre, where the deceased was initially admitted and treated. He also mentioned plans to summon the doctors who treated the deceased at LASUTH, as well as all the police officers involved in the investigation. This comprehensive approach is aimed at uncovering the circumstances surrounding Akin-Bright’s tragic demise.
Coroner Mrs. Bola Folarin-Williams informed the court that the autopsy report was prepared and would be presented shortly, as per the court’s request. She directed the father and mother of the deceased to file their respective applications regarding the disposition of the corpse so that the court can make a ruling.
Adegboruwa, however, suggested an independent examination of the deceased’s body by experts, such as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), to avoid potential bias and conflicts of interest. He expressed a preference to collaborate with Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, who is leading the mother’s legal representation, to harmonize their viewpoints.
Mr. Akinde reassured the court of the state’s readiness to cooperate with all parties by providing witnesses, documents, and medical personnel who attended to the deceased at LASUTH.
The Coroner noted that the day’s proceedings were preliminary in nature, designed to set the course for the inquest. She urged the parties to convene, reconcile their views, and submit a list of witnesses to be called before the next hearing. The Coroner also directed that the autopsy report and all essential documents be made available to the legal representatives.
The case has been adjourned to November 24 for further proceedings. Mrs. Abiodun Kolawole, representing the African Women Lawyer’s Association, was also present in court.
This tragic incident has raised many questions, and the Coroner’s inquest aims to provide clarity and answers to the grieving family and the concerned public.