According to reports, twelve pupils of a secondary school, Ginger International School, in Ebonyi State have been hospitalised after being administered with drugs by the school authority.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the students became unconscious after they were given drugs to deworm. They were rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, and Police Clinic in the state for medical attention.
The Ebonyi Police Command’s spokesman, George Okafor, who confirmed the incident on Saturday, said the proprietor and head of the school had been invited for questioning.
“We are going to investigate the matter thoroughly to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident,” Okafor said. According to NAN, anxious relatives of the pupils were seen at the “Accident and Emergency Unit of FETHA,” where majority of the schoolchildren were admitted.
Sources said the pupils, aged between 12 and 15 years, were given “anti-hermetic tablets”, which experts say were used to deworm the children.
Two of the children’s parents, Mr. Sam Igwe and Mrs. Bilikisu Ahmed, told NAN that the drugs were administered on their wards without their consent.
Chief Medical Director of FETHA, Dr. Emeka Ogah, said the drug sample had been collected and sent to the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control for analysis.
“The students are responding to treatment as we would do our best to get them fit again,” Dr. Ogah said.
Reacting on the issue, Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, Prof. John Eke, said the incident was embarrassing.
“The state government would come up with a policy that would make it mandatory for school managements to secure approval from the ministry before administering drugs on pupils and students,” Prof. Eke said.
However, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, said the drugs were donated by one of Ebonyi State’s foreign development partners which had been assisting in disease eradication.
“These drugs are administered intermittently to deworm students but we assure the public that the incident would be investigated and situation brought under control,” Dr. Umezurike said.