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
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
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.
PUNCH Metro gathered that there had been threats that no parent should disclose any information regarding the school.
The threat followed an earlier scandal which rocked the
school in 2016 after a teacher was alleged to have molested a female
A circular, dated October 26, 2016, issued by the PTA and
obtained by our correspondent stated that any pupil caught disseminating
negative infomation about the school, risked dismissal.
It said, “…henceforth, the child/ward of any
parent/guardian, found to be using the social media to spread false and
negative information or incite other parents will be withdrawn from the
college. Parents/guardians are therefore advised to desist from such
A parent said the school management also accused the parents of aggravating the latest matter.
She said, “A teacher confided in me that she had signed for over 200 pupils to be admitted in the sickbay.
“During a PTA meeting, after the epidemic started, the principal said parents were aggravating the situation.”
A teacher at the school told PUNCH Metro that “one quarter” of the school’s population was affected by the epidemic.
The teacher, who claimed to have spent about 10 years in the school, lamented that the school’s facility had been overstretched.
He said, “During a function to admit new students, the
school management stated that there were 30 students in each classroom.
The teachers were shocked because we have no fewer than 50 pupils in
“The diarrhoea issue affected the majority of the boarders.
Those affected are well over 100. About one quarter of the school was
A medical official at LUTH told our correspondent about five cases of diarrhoea were brought to the hospital.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Itulua died of “typhoid ileal perforation.”
“She died on the way to the hospital. Other pupils were
treated for diarrhoea. All of this happened within the last one week,”
The Public Affairs Officer of the Lagos State Ministry of
Health, Adeola Salako, confirmed that there was a reported case of
diarrhoea, saying investigations were ongoing.
She said, “We were alerted on Thursday by the old students
association of the school. The Lagos State Disease Surveillance Team
from the Ministry of Health has visited the school. We are aware of a
case in Apapa General Hospital and she is responding to treatment and
will soon be discharged.”
The Public Relations Officer of Queen’s College, Mr. Osifala
Olaseni, said some people were out to destroy the reputation of the
Olaseni, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone
on Saturday, said the school had just received a letter, confirming
He said, “Yes, the students complained after eating
spaghetti and 15 of them were admitted in the sickbay. They were treated
“Samples of the spaghetti were taken to the place where it
was purchased. We discovered it was the same spaghetti that was sold to
everybody that was sold to us.
“Nobody can say what actually happened, but a lot of steps
were taken to address the problem. The cooks were subjected to a
thorough investigation by the school management. We replaced all the
coolers in the refectory.
“After that week, a girl went to the sickbay and complained
that she was sick and we tried to admit her. On the second day, we
observed that her temperature rose and we called her parents to come for
her. The parents came on Saturday and took her home.
“The following Wednesday, the mother said she died. The
school immediately raised a team to pay the family a condolence visit
and the parents said they had taken her to the village. That was what
happened; there was no epidemic.”
He said the school management was surprised when it got a
call from the president of the old girls association that another girl
(Itulua) had died.
He said the school received the letter of the death on Saturday, adding that the cause of the death had yet to be known.
He explained that the school had different water serving different purposes in the school.
“We have water for washing clothes. We have drinking water,
which is always treated. We also have toilet water. We have factory
where water is produced.
“On Thursday, they took samples of the water for tests. We
distributed bags of sachet water to the students because many parents
were agitated when the first student died. We told the students to stop
taking tap water,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Health has said it had started an investigation into the incident.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, paid a visit to the school last Thursday to find out what transpired.
A statement by the ministry said Adewole’s investigative
team comprised members of staff of the Department of Medicine at the
University of Lagos and the Epidemiology Unit of the Lagos State
Ministry of Health.
“The minister has directed the officials of the ministry of
health, community health and LUTH to ascertain the cause of death of the
pupils, inspect the school environment, examine the source of water
supply and test its suitability for human consumption and also visit the
bereaved families,” the statement said.