Amid raging controversy over the death of two students of Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos State, parents have blamed the government and management of the school for not providing good source of drinking water to the students.
Some parents who spoke with The Guardian yesterday at the school, which has been shut following a directive from the Ministry of Health to fumigate the school premises, linked the death to lack of potable water and unhygienic environment at the college.
It would be recalled that two female boarding students, Vivian Osuinyi and Bithia Itulua died after reportedly suffering cases of stooling and vomiting. It was alleged that the late students ate spaghetti and drank water served in the cafeteria by the college cooks.
When they fell ill, their parents were called to come for them. While some alleged that the students died as a result of diarrhea, others attributed it to cholera.
At the school yesterday, parents who were summoned to pick their SSS 3 wards, who are writing their mock examination, were agitated by the development. They expressed disappointment over the incident, alleging that the college showed greater interest in commercialising the provision of clean water at the detriment of the students.
One of them who pleaded anonymity said “the most unfortunate thing is that the college has a big water company called ‘Queens Delight’ within the school premises, yet they could not provide potable drinking water for the students. This is absurd! Government on its part do not care to know whether the school has good source of water or not, yet they collect fees every term without taking good care of the students.
“Education at Queens College is not cheap. For parents after investing so much on their children to loose a child due to carelessness of some group of people is pathetic. What is most painful is that this death is avoidable if all parties have gotten their priorities right. The college’s lavatories, kitchen area is so dirty, there is no water in the toilets, and students complain they normally see hairs in their food. This has to be critically addressed.”
Meanwhile, chairman of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), John Ofobike, has insisted that there was no recent outbreak of any epidemic at the college, wondering why parents are blowing the latest incident out of proportion.
According to him, “about three weeks ago, I got a call that some students were stooling and vomiting. When I got to the sick bay, I saw four students were on admission. We made effort to trace the cause of the incident. A worker at the college told me they are suspecting that the drinking water was contaminated. After we confirmed it was not food poisoning, we instructed all students to stop using water from the school tank.
“We bought 3,000 bags of sachet water and distributed to all students. After three days, the girls on admission were certified okay and discharged. Surprising last Thursday, the social media went agog with the news of epidemic and death of four students of the college. The first student died about three weeks ago. The two students died of fever, malaria and typhoid according to their families. So until the ministry brings out the report of their investigation, we will know the exact situation.”
Source: The Guardian