Lagos, Nigeria. Following the death of the third Queens College’s student, Praise Sodipo, after the diarrhea outbreak that hit the school, the Lagos State Government has said the students will undergo fresh medical tests to prevent more deaths, even as the school is to remain shut.
The Senior Secondary School one pupil, who was an orphan, was said to have been on life support at the Intensive Care Unit before she died late Thursday night. Two pupils –Vivian Osuiniyi and Bithia Itulua –who were in Junior Secondary School two and three respectively, earlier died as a result of the epidemic.
Our correspondent had reported that many pupils of the school were admitted in the school’s sickbay after eating spaghetti and drinking water suspected to have been polluted, in the school. Even more pupils of the school took ill and were being admitted in different hospitals in the state.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had led a team to the school and ordered an investigation into the incident, just as the then Principal of the school, Dr. Lami Amodu, denied the epidemic, blaming the report on haters of the school. Amodu was later transferred from the school.
This development is coming as the Director of Education Quality Assurance, Federal Ministry of Education, was alleged to have delayed the report of the team that inspected the school few weeks before the outbreak.
Speaking after a closed- door meeting with representatives of the Federal Government, yesterday, the Queens College Principal and other stakeholders, Lagos State Commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris, explained that the test became necessary due to the multi-microbial nature of the disease that hit the elite school.
On the continued closure of the school, Idris said government was not satisfied with the series of tests carried out on the water facilities in the school yet.
He said: “I can’t tell you when the school will be opened, but I can tell you that for now, it will remain closed because the tests carried out on the water system in the school showed that there are still many organism, junks and with this, we can’t allow the school to reopen.
Explaining circumstances that aided the outbreak of the disease, The Director of Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Jonathan Mbaka, lamented that when the previous principal was contacted, she denied the case. He added that a report was submitted to his office but it was not copied to other departments within the ministry for appropriate action.
Debunking the allegation that the apex government had neglected the Unity schools, Mbaka said “We have not neglected any school. The problem is the Nigerian factor. This is because every year, the government budget money for this school and it is disbursed to the principals.
A parent, whose child was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, asked the Federal Government to probe the deaths and called for the prosecution of the former principal of the school.
“This should not be swept under the carpet. There have been three deaths because of the carelessness of one person. We have lost these promising ones and their families are now in sorrow. This case must be probed and all those involved brought to book,” he said.