Perhaps, to serve as deterrent to others, the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services is set to commence a probe into the circumstances of the outbreak of epidemics at the prestigious Queens College, Lagos that claimed lives of three students.
Healthstyleplus Online can authoritatively reveal that Letters of invitation which were written on May 2 have been sent to key actors and Principal witnesses including erstwhile Principal, Dr Lami Amodu and the present, Mrs. Aduke Are.
Our Correspondent gathered that the Letters dispatched through the Federal Ministry of Education’s (FME) Directorate of Basic and Secondary Education to key players in the crisis requested each to appear before the committee on Tuesday May 9, to explain all they know about the incident that shook the very fabrics of the old College.
Healthstyleplus Online learnt that among those invited to explain their roles in the saga are Dr. Lami Amodu who was the serving Principal when the outbreak occurred, Mrs.Aduke Are, current Principal, Sir John Ofobike, current chairman of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) his immediate Counterpart, Mrs. Beatrice Akhetuamen and Mrs. Stella Olagunju, Lead Investigator to the FME’s Quality Assurance Team, Lagos.
Our Correspondent also gathered that some others who are likely to face the panel and testify include Chairman, Queens College Old Girls Association, (QCOGA), Dr. Funmi Frances Ajose (who led the old girls to petition the House and call for a probe), key staffs of the School in the Kitchen, Head, School Clinic, Head, Engineering/Water department, Mr. Alex Amadi, the team of Water Engineering Contractors among others.
The Letters of invitation from the House of Representatives were written to the Directorate of Basic and Secondary education requesting that the actors and witnesses be summoned to face the Panel of Enquiry and its Director, Mr. Jonathan Mbaka, in turn wrote and signed another letter to the key actors on behalf of the House of Representatives.
All invited witnesses and actors are expected to appear from Tuesday May 9 at the Meeting Room 141, New Building, House of Representative, Nattional Assembly Complex in Abuja.
According to the Letter of summon, the scheduled meeting is expected to assist the members of Parliament to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident with a view to identify the immediate and remote causes and how these were resolved to forestall future occurences in the College and elsewhere.
It would be recalled that the incident that led to the crisis that saw the School shut down for 70days reportedly began around January 23, when it was alleged that about 100 students were rushed to the school clinic in a day with same symptoms of vomiting and stooling.
By the time the School went on Mid-term break on February 23, a month later, a total 1222 students had been affected with various forms of water borne infections and two girls, Vivian Osuiyi and Bithia Otulua had died.
It was the death of the second girl, Otulua that prompted reactions in which the Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was on a visit to the State was alerted and he visited the School and later set up a panel of inquiry.
A third death of JS3 student, Praise Sodipo (orphan), was one too many as report fo enquiry led by Lagos State Ministry of Health revealed mass bacterial infections in the water system, an obsolete and weak sanitation system in the School coupled with ill-health of food handlers which caused repeated re-infections of students of the School among others.
The death of Ms Favour Uwamanua JS3 though could not readily be linked to the disaster was also one that shook the College as parents agitated for a probe into activities of past managers of the College especially on issues of healthcare facilities.
A major revamp of the School water treatment plant, environmental santitation and fumigation of the School as well as sewage rehabilitation were carried out to the satisfaction of the State Ministry of Health which certified the School fit for reopening on Saturday April 29 and Sunday, April 30 respectively.
Although, blkames and counter blames have continued with stories of embezzlements of PTA funds, misappropriation of fund alloted to School manageent, brazen acts of high-handedness of School authority among others.
For instance, reacting to Healthstyleplus Online March 2 published interview of PTA Chairman, Sir Ofobike on “FG’s Neglect of Queens College Cause of Decay”, immediate past chairperson, Mrs.Akhetuamen had stated in part on march 5:
“As the PTA Chairman of the past administration I made sure money was released every month for the purification of drinking water in the college. We acquired a 15KVA brand new silent cabin generator solely for pumping water.
“I expect the Chairman to have settled down by now to face the job of leading the Association which is solely set up for the wellbeing of the girls instead of being in the business of bulk passing since he came into office. When he came on board instead of looking into the girls’ wellbeing he was busy beautifying the PTA office.
“I believe a woman is in the best place to be the Chairman of a girls’ school so she can have free access to the hostels and the girls can always let her know the challenges they are facing.
“This was the situation when I was the PTA chairman of the college. There was never a situation like this during my administration. We made sure doctors come in at least three times in a week and maintained partnership with Military Hospital a Federal government institution opposite the college, in case of any emergency then”, wrote Mrs. Akhetuamen
It is however believed that the probe panel of the House of Representatives will not only find a lasting solution to the various challenges that had bedeviled the Queens College, it will equally come out with resolutions that will assist in meeting the numerous challenges facing all other federal colleges under the Unity Schools Family and prevent needless deaths and morbidity in public Schools.