19 March 2017

Nigeria: Queens College Health Crisis - Old Students Want Resumption Postponed

The Unity School Old Students' Association, USOSA, has called for the declaration of public health emergency at Queens College, Lagos.

A statement released by Chidi Odinkalu, president-general of the association, said pending independent certification of the school as safe for human activity, it should remain closed.

According to the statement, investigations ordered by public health authorities disclosed a that since the beginning of January 2017, over 1,222 QC students have been treated at the school's clinic for abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

"16 students were admitted in various hospitals in the country, mostly in and around Lagos. Of this number, nine have reportedly been discharged; two have died, one is still in critical condition at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), having recently come out of coma," he said.

The statement added that in the past 36 hours, another has been admitted into hospital, while laboratory analyses have shown that the water sources in the school are contaminated by pathogens.

"The analysis also indicates that the boreholes that provide. principal sources of water for the school are too shallow and too close in proximity to the sewage systems, to which the contamination has been traced," the statement said.

Mr. Odinkalu, however, accused the school authorities of concealing the facts from the public, noting that the school has shown reckless disregard for the lives of the students.

The statement, therefore, called on the authorities to ensure that re-opening of the school is deferred, while remedial measures are put in place.

"USOSA offers its networks to mobilise complementary support for this. Pending the implementation of such a plan, re-opening should be deferred," he said.

The alumni, therefore joined the Lagos government, in calling that the resumption of the school, initially scheduled for today, March 19, be postponed.


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