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Queen’s College Health Crisis: Student Buried Amidst Tears as Education Ministry Admits Blame



Praise Sodipo (left). Photo Credit: PUNCH

The third fatality in the Queen’s College health crisis has been buried on Thursday.

Praise Sodipo, who lost her parents when she was only eight years old, died after an outbreak of bacterial infection spread through contaminated water.

Two other students Vivian Osuiniyi (JSS 2) and Bithia Itulua (JSS 3) had died as a result of the outbreak.

About 1,222 students fell ill and 16 others were hospitalised.

According to Praise’ guardian Lawrence Otun;

The sickness started from the school, but they refused to inform us. It was when my wife went to pick her for the midterm break that she discovered that the girl had been terribly sick and was admitted to the sickbay. She took her to a hospital.

We were treating malaria when a doctor advised that we do a scan. The scan showed she had liver enlargement. The doctor referred us to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba. Because it was late, my wife brought her home.

When I, however, saw how she was breathing, I quickly rushed her to a private hospital around 11pm where she was placed on a drip till the following morning. We were advised to do another scan.

The new result showed that she had perforated intestine due to chronic typhoid said to have been caused by the contaminated water in the school.

Lawrence state Praise was transferred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where she was operated upon. He said she was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Lawrence said she was placed on life support after she started convulsing and went into coma.

Sadly, Praise passed on last Friday.

“The girl could have become a great leader in the future, but her life was cut short by the carelessness of some people. The former principal and the Federal Government must pay for this,” a family friend, Steven Babatunde said.

Lawrence said the deceased was the only student from Osun state admitted to the school on merit four years ago.

Praise was laid to rest at Atan Cemetery, Yaba, Lagos State at about 11AM.

A short service of songs was conducted by Pastor Joseph Ekato of  the Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of Refuge Parish before the deceased was interred.

Her interment followed a statement by Jonathan Mbaka, the Director of Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education that lapses in the ministry led to the death of the outbreak and subsequent death of the three students.


“I must confess that there were lapses in the ministry concerning the report filed by the Education Quality Assurance team.

The report was submitted to the directorate of that ministry. But the directorate didn’t pass the report to other departments for action. They just kept it in the office.

Unfortunately, it was this week that I was able to get access to that report. It is a little lapse on our part. But it is a procedural issue and when procedure has existed for too long, to change it becomes an issue. No one expected such to happen; other reports had been kept like that and nothing happened,” Mbaka said.

Mbaka also faulted the former principal of the school Dr. Lami Amodu who denied the health crisis, adding that people are trying to bring the reputation of the school down.

He added that it was after Amodu was transferred, that the new principal reported the health crisis.

Mbaka said: “The challenge we had was that the facts were not coming to us. I can inform you that I have visited the school three times. When I visited the school, I postponed the resumption for two weeks when I saw what was on ground.”

“We have discovered that there is a failure in the system. This has opened our eyes to a lot of things. And we have agreed that after this issue, we will visit each of the unity schools for assessment. With this, I believe that we will not have a repeat of such,” he added.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has also condoled with the families of the victims, adding that the problem is being addressed.

Source: PUNCH



  1. fee

    April 7, 2017 at 8:10 am

    This is terrible.

  2. Disguised

    April 7, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Very terrible.

  3. o

    April 7, 2017 at 8:32 am

    No value for human life in Nigeria. May she rest in peace. How can a child be that ill and her parents were not informed??? #sigh

  4. Moyo

    April 7, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Schools need to know that they are responsible for the lives of their students in the boarding houses. Even in the private schools, they will not inform parents if the child is ill, It is when the parents call and find out they will tell you your child is in the sick bay or clinic. Parents too have a duty to check on their wards and the environment of the school and complain if things are not being done the right way

  5. Max

    April 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

    So sad,how can this happen in our country?

  6. Ruby

    April 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

    The kind of water we drink in Unity schools…I am even surprised more unity schools haven’t recorded such outbreak. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 7, 2017 at 10:45 am

      I’m even now thinking back to the water I drank throughout my 6 years in a Federal boarding school (believe me, bottled water wasn’t even on the menu as an option at all for us back then) … and can only conclude that either the state of the nation was much better during the early 90s or else, it was simply God’s who preserved our health.

      Now, this statement is one of more idiotic things I’ve read this week:-
      “Unfortunately, it was this week that I was able to get access to that report. It is a little lapse on our part. But it is a procedural issue and when procedure has existed for too long, to change it becomes an issue. No one expected such to happen; other reports had been kept like that and nothing happened,” Mbaka said.

      It was “a little lapse on our part”….. and because nobody expected death to happen, all such reports can continue to be kept without action? What if the result was a rare kind of deformity and not death, would that fall into the category of things you “expect” to happen??

      And where is this principal who decided to only report the crisis after he was transferred? Why is the ministry shielding him and the directorate that received the report? Every part of the chain of ineptitude deserves prosecution and I really, really hope the parents of all the deceased girls are considering a law suit. It’s won’t bring their precious ones back…. but we can’t keep letting our stupid/selfish government continue to literally get away with murder.

    • Anon

      April 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Mrs Amodu is a woman. Don’t think there has ever been a male Principal in QC. She has always been a nasty piece of work with her rose tinted glasses and tunnel vision. She needs to be sacked. This is where pro bono or no win no fee lawyers need to step in and sue all the stakeholders on behalf of the bereaved families. It’s long overdue.

  7. TGirl

    April 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

    The end of a lineage so pathetic. May her soul continue to Rest In Peace ✌?

  8. Nike

    April 7, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I’m so angry in my spirit that I’m beginning to change my prayer points concerning these so called leaders in this country. How can you Mbaka say “a little as in little lapses on the part of the ministry”. Why are we failing in been responsible, can the workers in the ministry justify the salary they earn when a report is left on the table for so long without being attended to, why… this last principal to is a mother and God will reward each and everyone involved in the deaths of these children accordingly. Gosh… this country is a total disaster

  9. So sad

    April 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

    “It is a little lapse on our part. But it is a procedural issue and when procedure has existed for too long, to change it becomes an issue. No one expected such to happen; other reports had been kept like that and nothing happened”

    Little lapse?? It breaks my heart to see how little the value of a human life is in Nigeria.

  10. Nnomsie

    April 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

    This is so sad and has changed my plans of sending any of my kids to boarding school especially this Federal Schools, I can’t deal. I remember my own experience where I spent days in the clinic and was being treated for Malaria, even wrote an exam on the sick bed and when I mad noise with plenty cry about wanting to go home, my mum was called to pick me up…same day I got home, my mom already discovered it was Chicken Pox and commenced treatment.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 7, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Please don’t do that to your children, I beg you.

      Even back then, Nigeria wasn’t in an ideal state … but in comparison, it was a lot better than the ruin it’s turning into today. I can’t even imagine what the real situation of Federal schools must be in 2017 and I know nostalgia helps us treasure our boarding house memories but given the daily evidence of failures in managing this country, it’s an experience you can’t guarantee any longer to your own children.

    • Bleed Blue

      April 7, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Mz S.A., remember when that posh private school in Aberdeen was closed down for good?

      What was the root cause?
      A little boy was so badly shouted at that he started to urinate on himself from the trauma. OFSTED came in, investigated, found other gaps in standards and boom, they locked the gates.

      See us here, children have died, I cannot even begin to understand the grief of their families, they’re gone, and our authorities are giving excuses.

      RIP. I’m sad today. The mom of twins and then this.
      My heart is just heavy.

    • Bey

      April 7, 2017 at 11:25 am

      My dear your kids can still go to boarding school, but let in be a private school. They are many good private schools with good boarding facilities.
      Federal boarding schools lost any form of reason in the 1990s.

    • Jay

      April 7, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      I recall a situation at King’s College in the nighties when my friend’s kids schooling there would go for days without evacuating their bowel(going to the toilet) because that facility was in such a poor state. He had to bring them home twice every week so the boys can take a dump! In some of our Universities, there are no toilets. It is common knowledge that students in hostels put plastic bags on the ground & ‘do their business’ inside the bags, then proceed to haul these into adjourning vacant plots. Hmmmm…. Naija! Nothing that happens here ever fazes me.

  11. adeyinka

    April 7, 2017 at 10:27 am

    The school should have been closed indefinitely

  12. Chuckie

    April 7, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Why is no one being prosecuted for the needless loss of young lives at Queens College? Why do we not have any value for life in this country? Why would someone responsible for the lives of our children say “it was a little lapse on our part”?
    Can you please lapse yourself to the nearest police station for criminal negligence and manslaughter.

  13. PH Boy

    April 7, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Our system has failed us again!
    And knowing that this could have been avoided completely breaks my heart.

  14. Bey

    April 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

    In 2017 don’t tell me Queen college doesn’t have water dispensers.
    If you even buy in bulk, C-way water can go as cheap as N350/400.
    So ppl are still drinking tap water in school. As I said previously they should just close down the boarding part. Whether its Federal Govt not realising funds to them because all they do now is save in TSA accounts while their own kids are in British International schools and Abroad.

    • toto

      April 7, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      or even pure water of 1200NGN for 10 bags

  15. kkay

    April 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

    A little lapse indeed! If that were your daughter, would you still tag it as a little lapse? FG should better handover schools to mainstream churches and missionaries like the Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Methodist, Assemblies of God, RCCG, Deeper Life, Presbyterian churches etc.

    Ministry of Education in Nigeria should better improve or be scrapped. The rot in the system is horrific!!! A report from a school crisis was lying on the table or filed away in one ancient cabinet, meaning your processes are not online. ICT must be the 12th Wonder of the World to Nigeria’s Ministry of Education!

    No boreholes in schools with all the budgetary allocation to Ministry of Education?? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THAT MONEY?!
    No schools supervision and invigilation of teachers, academic and extra-curricula activities.

    There are private schools this same Ministry of Education licenced that are operating in poor learning facilities and unhygenic environment.

    Where is the PTA, Parents Teachers Association of this Queens School? How could you fail to notice such deplorable state of facilities in this school? Team up with the PTA of other Unity schools and public schools and sue the school former Principal and everyone involved in this gross negligence. This would deter others from such acts of irresponsibility

    • Puzzles

      April 7, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      And how many people are able to pay for schools owned by missionaries? Most of them with ridiculously high school fees that the average nigerian cannot pay for?

      Government should fix the educational system such that no one would see the need to send children to missionary schools from primary to university level. What are we paying tax or earning revenues for?

    • kkay

      April 8, 2017 at 11:35 am

      @ Puzzles, we all can do something about it. When pastors ask you for seed, offering etc to build schools, tell them to do private placement instead so that church members can buy shares and become part-owners . Elect or appoint board members of these schools and determine how the school is run along with the PTA.

      I think it’s the new generation churches that operate schools with *cut-throat” tuition fees and their church members ignorantly empower these pastors to “fleece” them of their hard-earned money all in the name of worshipping God.
      Jesus told us to be wise even in our innocence (not ignorance). Let’s not “perish” out of our ignorance because religion is the opium of the masses numbing their reasoning and knocking them off into *slumberland*.

  16. Lami

    April 7, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    The students died due to the Ministries carelessness and you Mr mbaka called it little lapses, haba!
    I think the former Principal and Ministry of Education should be held accountable.

  17. Fifi

    April 7, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Everyone involved in this recklessness would face the wrath of God,my spirit is so heavy after reading this

    • gia

      April 7, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      wrath of god…stop asking god to help and take action…*rolls eyes*

    • Fifi

      April 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      I pray you receive sense, read on how the PTA of QC brush things under the carpet, who else will i call on for justice for these children

  18. B.E

    April 7, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    My heart bleeds! Can we start a petition for something to be done, not sure what but this is terrible!!!!!!! An orphan!! I’m in tears! Naija which way!

    If this had happened to a rich persons kid, we would have heard something else

  19. CHIKA

    April 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    My own is why is someone like this Jonathan Mbaka and Co. still there, making a speech? Like seriously?

  20. slice

    April 7, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Parents stop sending your children to the unity schools.
    The planned inspection day the school will be clean but after they leave it will be back to a death trap

  21. Nv

    April 7, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    ‘Little lapse’ WTF!!!!!

    Please, I second the petition but I don’t know how I can channel my contribution. Someone help me please.

  22. AAsh

    April 7, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    This is so painful…the Nigerian government keeps failing its citizens….and such reckless comments from Mbaka….please why is the Minister of Education mute about this issue…it’s really sad!

    May the souls of innocent Praise, Vivian and Bithia rest in peace; and may GOD comfort their families and loved ones in JESUS Name.Amen

  23. blackbeatle

    April 7, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    and our poor health facilities contributed because how come they just started treating seems its only drip and malaria some clinics know how to treat

  24. Kate

    April 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Oh my God this is so sad, may her soul rest in peace, amen.

  25. peo

    April 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Omon of Beautycookstudio studios mum is the pta chairman I remember how she denied a teacher molested a student

  26. Bymz

    April 12, 2017 at 12:11 am

    God will do the Justice. This is
    The big blow to the family and acquaintances too

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