Some pupils of the Local Education Authority, Kubwa II school were confirmed dead on Wednesday, after reportedly eating biscuits at a party.
The incident spread panic in the community as parents and guardians rushed to the school and forcibly took away their children.
The News Agency of Nigeria earlier reported that two 14-year-old pupils of the school, Nehemiah Yahaya and Yahaya Garba, of primary 5 and 4 respectively, died after eating biscuits at a party allegedly organised by yet to be identified persons.
However, a visit to the school in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja, the Nigerian capital, revealed that three pupils of the school actually died but the third person didn’t eat from the said biscuits.
The third victim, Moses Sunday, of primary one, is said to have died on Tuesday night after an alleged fight with his classmate.
Two of the deceased, Nehemiah Yahaya and Yahaya Garba, who were said to be from the same family, have however been buried on Wednesday afternoon in Kubwa.
At the time PREMIUM TIMES visited the school, the headmaster was giving an account of the tragedy to officials of the FCT Education Secretariat, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), who were at the school on a fact-finding mission.
Journalists were barred from the briefing and the headmaster and other officials present declined to comment on the incident.
Giving an account of the incident, a teacher who would not want to be mentioned said, “When we got to school this morning, a child from primary four was sick. The HOD noticed it and asked him to go home. The other child in primary five who happen to be from the same parent was also sick and on getting home, they died.
“Immediately we got the news, our headmaster called us and asked us if there was any celebration in any arm of the school and we said nothing like that happened.
“A while after our headmaster briefed us, another news came that a child in primary one died. This one fought yesterday after closing and on reaching home, he was taken to the hospital and he died there.
“After our headmaster addressed us, we went into our classes and before we knew it, Gbagi and Hausa people came into the school premises with stick, stones and bottle to come and attack teachers.
“God helped us because the Area Council chairman came into the premises after hearing about it. He called the police and then, the situation was arrested. They later said we should allow the children to go home but we suggested that those whose parents might still be at their work place should be allowed to stay but that generated another crisis.
“Some of the pupils ran to meet their elder ones in the secondary arm of the school while some ran out using the windows”, she said.
On the major cause of the incident, the teacher said the school had barred pupils from bringing edible things to school during any celebration so she was not aware of any party.
In the same development, Hasia Haruna, a pupil who also ate of the biscuits is presently on admission at the emergency ward of the Kubwa General Hospital.
Her mother, Fatima, said she rushed Hasia, 13, to the Kubwa General Hospital, when she learnt that she ate of the biscuits at school.
She explained that her daughter, a primary three pupil of the school, told her that the biscuit was given to her by a yet to be identified person.
Hasia’s mother who spoke in Hausa said, “There was a party in the school on Tuesday where my daughter ate biscuit with other pupils. We discovered that some pupils died at night”.
“So I asked her if she ate the biscuit and who gave her and she said it was shared to them by a Muslim sister and so I was satisfied with her explanation”.
“But the chairman of Bwari Area Council, Musa Dikko, said we should take her to the hospital because some pupils died, so I decided to bring her here (Kubwa General Hospital),” she said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Doctor of the Hospital, Lasisi Akinola, said the hospital had admitted some sick pupils which he described as nothing unusual.
“We receive sick pupils and people all the time, so there is nothing unusual about that. I know we have the corpse of a pupil who died after a fight with another pupil, but I don’t have information on what you are talking about,” he said
The FCT police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, said the police have opened an investigation into the incident. He said the case would be transferred to the Command Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for discreet investigation.
Confirming the incident through a statement by its spokesperson, Tony Ogunleye, the FCT Administration Education Secretariat, said three pupils had died, while two others were hospitalised, in circumstances that are still under investigation by relevant authorities, including the Nigerian Police Force and the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCT.
Following the incident, the Chairman, Bwari Area Council, Musa Dikko, suspended activities at the school till February 26.