Adamu Adamu, minister of education, says his ministry has launched a fresh investigation into the deaths of students of Queen’s College, Lagos, in order to identify “those responsible” for the tragedy.
Lami Amodu, the principal of the school at the time of the deaths, will now come under investigation.
Speaking with TheCable on Thursday, Adamu said the first phase of the investigation only focused on what caused the deaths, and denied insinuations that Amodu was being shielded from justice.
Vivian Osuinyi, 13, Bithia Itulua, 12, and Praise Sodipo,14, died of complications from gastroenteritis, which they contracted from drinking contaminated water at the school.
The students all died between February and March 2017.
However, as soon as investigation into the circumstances of the deaths commenced, Amodu was transferred to Edo state to head another federal government college.
This fuelled speculation that she was being protected by influential persons in government.
But Adamu explained that the initial investigation was to establish the cause of the deaths not to apportion blame.
The transfer of Amodu at the time of the inquiry, he said, was coincidental as all principals were moved around the same time.
Adamu said the ministry has launched another investigation to establish who to hold responsible for the tragedy, although he did not provide further details.
“The (initial) investigation was done by this ministry in conjunction with the ministry of health. And what they discovered… the problem came about because of overstretched facilities and some infections going into the water system of the college,” he said.
He also said that the recommendations of panel “were to make sure that these things are addressed and eliminated; to clean up the water system and especially the storage facilities. And to ensure hygienic environment, let’s say in the kitchen and in the clinic and so on, so as to ensure that the infection is eliminated.
“There was no recommendation on [what to do] the leadership. It is left to the ministry to take action on those responsible. But the investigation that was done actually earlier is about the cause of the thing not blame-apportioning. The ministry is now probing the leadership.”
TheCable, in partnership with the Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation (CNJF), has published an extensive investigation into the Queen’s School affair, reporting claims that Amodu was negligent in her responsibilities to the students.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also petitioned the United Nations to compel the federal government to investigate the deaths.
Watch out for the full interview.
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