Queen’s College, Lagos, will on Monday (today) resume from its midterm break without two pupils –Vivian Osuiniyi and Bithia Itulua– who died after taking ill in the school.
Aside the two pupils, no fewer than 50 others will not be in school as they are either recuperating at home or on admission in different hospitals in Lagos State, including Apapa General Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Harvey Road Hospital and Safe City Clinic.
PUNCH Metro gathered that problem started after the pupils, who were boarding students, ate spaghetti and drank suspected polluted water served in the refectory two weeks ago.
An epidemic of diarrhoea was said to have broken out, as the pupils started vomiting and stooling.
Our correspondent, who spoke with parents, pupils, a teacher and a nurse in the school, gathered that the sickbay overflowed with sick pupils as panic spread in the school.
Some parents were said to have been called to take their children home for treatment.
It was learnt that Osuiniyi, a Junior Secondary School two pupil, died on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, while Itulua, a JSS 3 pupil, died on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
The mother of Itualua, when contacted by our correspondent, declined comment, saying she was mourning the death of her daughter and did not want to discuss the incident.
Osuiniyi’s parents could not be reached for comment.
However, parents and pupils, who spoke with our correspondent, begged not to be identified as the school management had vowed to deal with anyone who exposed the incident.
A pupil, who spoke with PUNCH Metro from her hospital bed, explained that the school’s water system had been polluted for some time.
She said, “I don’t know the number of boarders affected, but one of my friends is also in the hospital.
“The one that died is Vivian (Osuiniyi). She was in JSS 2. Those affected in my dormitory are not less than 10.
“The problem started after we took spaghetti and drank the contaminated water in the hostel. When I woke up, I started feeling pains in my stomach. I was given some drugs and asked to return to my dormitory, but the pain didn’t stop.
“We complained to the school about the water that we drink, but nothing was done.”
Another pupil, who was receiving treatment at home, said more than 50 senior pupils in her class were affected.
She said, “About 50 pupils in my dormitory were stooling and vomiting after they ate the spaghetti and took the water. There are seven dormitories for SSS3 pupils and we are over 500.
“I went to the sickbay on Monday and complained that I ate spaghetti. A nurse said it was indigestion. When I ate it the next day, I vomited. When I went to report the second time, I was asked to stop eating the spaghetti. Aside the spaghetti, the water is brownish.”
She said the school later distributed bags of sachet water to the pupils.
A parent, whose daughter was among those on admission, told PUNCH Metro that when she called a teacher in the school, she was assured that her daughter was okay.
She said she later got a call that her daughter had started stooling and vomiting as well.
She said, “She was taken to the hospital from the school and has been on admission since Wednesday.”
Another parent, who said she was still treating her sick daughter, said she had first observed rashes on her body.
She said the victim later complained of the water in the school.
She said, “I gathered that the water had been contaminated. It was the same water they were using to cook their food.
“My daughter called and said one of their teachers said a pupil died. She said the girl was among those that ate the spaghetti.
“On Tuesday, I was called to come and take my daughter. I went there and took her to a hospital. When I got to the hospital, the doctors saw the uniform of my daughter and they screamed, ‘QC again!’ I was told that other pupils of the school had been brought to the hospital.”
The mother of one of the affected pupils said she subjected her daughter to several tests, including pregnancy and HIV tests, adding that the result showed food poisoning.
She said, “On Wednesday, I was called that my daughter was not feeling fine. I went on Thursday and took her to a hospital in Yaba. They conducted tests on her and the results showed food poisoning.”
The parent said the Parent-Teacher Association did not want the issue exposed to the public.