Parents of Queen’s College have queried the silence of the Ministry of Education after the breakout of an epidemic in the school after three people were allegedly killed three pupils.
According to the parents, only the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who had visited the school, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had not given the case the seriousness it deserved.
According to reports, a large number of the students were admitted to the school’s sickbay after eating spaghetti and drinking water suspected to have been polluted in the school’s refectory.
Two pupils–Vivian Osuiniyi and Bithia Itulua–who were in Junior Secondary School two and three respectively, reportedly died as a result of the epidemic.
The Minister of Health, Adewole, had led a team to the school and ordered an investigation into the incident, just as the former Principal of the school, Dr Lami Amodu, denied the incident, blaming the report on haters of the school.
Amodu was later transferred from the school.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, after a few weeks, released a statement saying health records from the school’s sickbay indicated that a total of 1,222 pupils presented themselves at the school’s clinic on account of abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The statement noted that 16 ill pupils were admitted to various hospitals. While nine had been discharged, two had been confirmed dead, one was still on admission at the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, and three in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba.
Our correspondent, in a follow-up, reported that more pupils of the school had taken ill and were being admitted to different hospitals in the state.
On Friday, an orphan, identified as Praise Sodipo, a Senior Secondary School one pupil, died, bringing the number of deaths to three.
A parent told reporters on Sunday that the 14-year-old orphan was in the care of a guardian.
She said, “She was an orphan. At a point, there was nobody to pay her hospital bills and a group of us had to raise money for her treatment. Another parent, whose daughter was also admitted to the hospital at that time, coordinated the fundraising for the girl before she died.
“We are angry because despite all these, the Federal Ministry of Education is not investigating anything. We believe corruption is involved.
“If investigations start, a lot of questions will be raised about finances. If the former principal is questioned, heads will roll. We believe that was why she was quickly transferred to another school.”
Another parent, who claimed to have spent a lot of money on his daughter, said the school’s financial system might have been compromised.
He said, “Queen’s College has five vice principals– vice principal academic, senior school; vice principal administration; vice principal special duties; vice principal junior school; and vice principal student affairs.
“There is also the federal ministry of education inspectorate department, which should oversee whatever is happening in the school. But how things degenerated to the level of losing three girls without any of these officials knowing, beats my imagination.
“I am pained because although lives had been lost and some pupils are still sick, the ministry of education has not issued any statement.”
Another parent urged the Federal Government to step into the case and ensure the three girls did not die in vain.
The PTA Chairman of Queen’s College, Dr John Ofodike, said his administration only resumed in October, 2016, adding that the school’s problem had been on for some time.
He called on the Federal Government to address the problems and probe the deaths of the three pupils.
He said, “We have set up a panel to look into the management of funds by the previous PTA administration.
“The PTA does not run the college; we are just playing supervisory and advisory roles.
“Since my administration came in, we have been using our personal money to support the school. There has been a long time decay of infrastructure in the college. We have been using our personal funds to run the college.
“And please, note that the proprietor of the school is the Federal Ministry of Education. Tell the Federal Government to probe the deaths. When the pupils were stooling and had diarrhoea, the PTA medical team played its part and left.”