A similar incident occurred in the same school in November, 2013 when 25 students became unconscious after inhaling the gaseous substance, which the Lagos State Government has not been able to unravel.
The incident occurred around 1.00 p.m as students in one of the classes were suddenly overwhelmed with gaseous odour and started collapsing one after the other until 13 students fainted. The affected students included 12 girls and one boy.
Some of the affected students were identified as Memuna Tijani, Subedat Oladokun, Taiwo Adebiyi, Rodiat Muiz, Omolade Ogunbami, Blessing Onaigbe, Karimot Akiyode, Modupe Idowu and Rasak Gbolahan.
The students, admitted at the Surgical Emergency Ward, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, were responding to treatment except one that remained in critical condition.
Other students fled the class to avert being affected as pandemonium sets in with students, teachers and others in the school asked to vacate the premises immediately and the school shut down.
Local Government officials said that the gaseous substance emanated from the administrative block of the school sharing the same fence with the Ogba Shopping Mall, which housed several small scale companies, shops and a new generation bank.
Officials of the Lagos Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Lagos Ambulance Services, LASAMBUS, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit, SEHMU and the police were at the scene to rescue victims of the gaseous emission.
LASAMBUS officials quickly evacuated the fainted students and rushed them to LASUTH for treatment, while everyone was evacuated from the school.
Officials of LASEPA were seen at the school’s premises carrying out investigation to unravel the type of chemical contaminant emitted into the school environment.
The Ogba Shopping Mall, housing several shops, companies and Ecobank Nigeria Plc was shut down by LASEMA officials while hundreds of people working in the shopping complex were evacuated from the complex.
The gaseous substance was also perceived by some people at the shopping complex.
A legal practitioner, Joshua John, whose chamber is in the mall said he perceived the gaseous substance, which made his breathing irregular, saying that they were evacuated from the premises of the mall to avoid casualty, noting that nobody was affected at the mall.
LASEMA General Manager, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said 13 of the affected students taken to LASUTH were responding to treatment, saying that the rescue operation was swift and prompt.
“They are responding to treatment very well, but however, we have condoned off the school and the building associated with that area. Why we are doing that is to allow us carry out risk assessment and analysis on the place. We are appealing to our people not to panic that the state is on top of the challenges.
“What we are doing is that we are carrying out an operation and after we might have carried out the operation, we will go into specific and compare issues with what happened the last time when the same thing occur in the same school. We try to localize it and we have brought the expert and they are working on it, we brought LASEPA that are experts on this and they are working.. They are with us here and at the general hospital. People should remain calm,” he stated
Osayintolu stated that some of the victims “are responding very well, they sustain some injuries, the doctor needs to assess them to give us the comprehensive thing of what is happening to them. My own job is to respond to the operation. I cannot give you the extent or the severity of the gravity; it is the doctor that can give you that. What I can assure you is that they are responding to treatment.”
Chairman, Ojodu Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Julius Oloro said that the school and shopping mall were shut down because government wanted experts to do a thorough job this time around.
According to him, when the same incident occurred last year, the council played its part and left the rest for government, stressing that “this time around, all of us are going to see the end of it, we will not sweep anything under the carpet. The affected students fainted.”
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