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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Covenant University: Ogun government and management speak out, as more sources confirm suspected poisoning on campus

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As more sources, including students and parents, confirmed the news of alleged food poisoning at the campus of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, both the state government and the management of the institution reacted.

Over the weekend, news of a possible outbreak of diarrhea, vomiting and fever, suspected to be due to food consumed by students, had gone viral on social media, including WhatsApp.

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PREMIUM TIMES investigated the viral news and confirmed it through multiple sources, but the university management declined to comment. Phone calls were immediately rejected as soon as the topic of the investigation was raised, and messages sent to school officials were not returned.

But after this newspaper reported on Saturday, other sources, including parents and students, confirmed the unusual cases of diarrhea, vomiting and fever among students, and how the campus health facilities were saturated.

However, when contacted on Monday, the Ogun State government described the news as “misinformation” without explaining what actually happened.

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Commissioner speaks

When asked if the state was aware of the development, the Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker, said the case was investigated.

In a very terse message to our reporter, Ms Coker simply wrote: “We have investigated the report. “I have been informed that it is erroneous information.”

But when confronted with the facts contained in the above PREMIUM TIMES report, the commissioner sent additional information which reads: “We have video evidence of the visit of my Disease Notification and Surveillance Officer and Medical Officer of Health of Otta LGA. Additionally, we have reviewed his admission records and compared them with his records monthly and at the same time of year.

“Rest assured, our Public Health team has investigated the report.”

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Although the commissioner did not deny the unusual health situation on campus, she did not reveal the findings of the investigation carried out either.

the university speaks

With its usual evasive attitude, the university’s management also issued a statement on Monday afternoon about the event, insisting that nothing unusual occurred on its campus.

The statement, titled: “Disclaimer”, a copy of which was made available to our journalist by the Head of Media and Public Affairs of the institution, Chichi Ononiwu, notes that the information circulating is “accompanied by misleading statements about a situation unbearable on campus, resulting in numerous student admissions for dehydration due to an outbreak of diarrheal illness.”

Without denying the increase in hospitalization cases on campus, the university management limited itself to saying that “the health situation is not out of the ordinary.”

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria has a high maternal and child mortality rate – Ehanire

The statement reads in part: “These statements do not represent the truth as the health situation of our students is not out of the ordinary. Covenant University continues to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and well-being of all students, faculty and staff at all times.

“Covenant University and its students remain as peaceful as ever. We therefore urge our esteemed parents and guardians to remain calm and trust in our agreed commitment to provide a safe and conducive learning environment.”

The university noted that students are feeling well and are preparing for exams.

Students and parents insist that the health situation is unusual

Meanwhile, some students who contacted this newspaper and their parents confirmed that the university witnessed an increase in hospitalizations among students who reported cases of diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

One of the students, however, pointed out that the development may not be related to food poisoning, but could be due to the students’ ingestion of water.

According to the source, some students in hostels, as part of saving measures, often drink water from the bathroom, and this could explain the unusual behavior.

The source said: “Yes, there have been cases of people being hospitalized with similar symptoms. From what I’ve heard so far, the focus is not exclusively on the food. It is impossible for different foods to cause the same symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. Most likely it is due to the water some students drink. (Although it is not confirmed)

“Some students drink water they take from the bathroom and toilet. Some claim it is clean, others feel they are using it as a means to save money. So, possibly something went wrong with the water at some point, but the easiest thing students will blame is the food without considering the water they drink. “It’s not like there’s an outbreak of anything.”

Some parents, who said their children had confirmed the situation, blamed the university for being evasive.

“I don’t understand why the authorities don’t answer questions about an issue as important as this,” said one parent who craved anonymity, noting that accountability is key whether in public or private life.

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