- Petitions UN
By Odunewu Segun
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the United Nations over the death of three students at Queen’s College between February and March 2017, with others contracting skin, vaginal and abdominal infections as a result contaminated water.
National Daily had reported a gastroenteritis epidemic in the school earlier in the year that led to the death of three students- Vivian Osuinyi, Bithia Itulua and Praise Sodipo as a result of the consumption of contaminated water and foods in the school.
Many students also became seriously ill between January and March 2016, with several reporting different forms of infections. Many girls manifested signs of skin, vaginal and abdominal infections, and were stooling and vomiting.
In the petition addressed to four United Nations special rapporteurs, SERAP expressed “serious concern that alleged corruption by the leadership of the school has ruined the lives of several pupils, and squandered their potential for personal development”.
SERAP urged the special rapporteurs to pressure the federal government and the authorities at Queen’s College to urgently end the deteriorating living conditions of girls in the school and other unity schools in the country.
“These girls have depended on the integrity of the authorities both at the Federal Ministry of Education and the school levels but have been badly let down by those entrusted with the power to provide them with access to quality education in a safe environment,” the petition signed by Timothy Adewale, SERAP deputy director, read in part.
SERAP said the apparent failure to exercise due diligence and to fulfil the obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right of these girls to quality education is buttressed by the fact that the school management repeatedly ignored early warnings and complaints from students and parents, the failure to improve facilities and conditions in the school, and the alleged demand of illegal fees and bribes from parents by the school authorities.
National Daily also gathered that despite the House of Reps indictment of the Ministry of Education over its lackadaisical attitude towards the death of the three students, nobody has been brought to book.
At a hearing conducted by the legislators, the Principal of the college who had since been transferred, Dr. Lamin Amodu and Current President, Mrs. B.A Are, said it was an act of sabotage.
Chairman of Parents Teachers Association, PTA, Dr John Afordike, who further opened a can of worms, alleging that it was an act of sabotage. Afordike, who was elected PTA chairman last October, told a bewildered panelists that what happened at the school was an act of sabotage perpetrated by the school technician employed by the Ministry of Education.
Former chairman of QC’s PTA, Mrs Beatrice Ayatore, in her presentation, told the lawmakers how she was paying the school technician, one Mr. Alex Amadi, N39, 000 monthly to buy chlorine to treat the school water before she vacated her position last October.