Nigeria: Many Covenant University Students ‘Hospitalised’ Over Suspected Food Poisoning

Multiple sources said facilities at the school’s medical centre have been stretched due to the number of affected students.

Hundreds of students of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, have reportedly been hospitalised due to suspected food poisoning in the institution’s butteries.

According to multiple sources who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, the school’s medical centre has been overwhelmed due to the number of affected students.

But the university is keeping mum over the matter as calls and messages to relevant officials were ignored and not replied to for many hours.

Parent confirms development

Meanwhile, a parent, who is resident overseas, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone conversation on Saturday.

The source, who does not want to be quoted for fear of victimisation of the child, said the student has regained some balance and is now recuperating in the school.

The source said: “We have had difficulties reaching our child since we received the news. But earlier today (Saturday), we got through to our child who confirmed being affected by the food poisoning but is now recovering well and is fairly stable.

Other sources also confirmed the development but rued the school’s decision to keep the matter secret.

A former employee of the university, who also craved anonymity, said the institution should have spoken on the matter “to douse the tension but all this hide and seek game doesn’t help the university.”

Ban on use of phones by students

After the founder of the university and General Overseer of the Living Faith Church, David Oyedepo, had abruptly announced the ban on the use of phones by the students of the institutions many years ago, any student found with a telephone on the campus is sanctioned.

The students who are offered computer tablets for their academic use are barred from accessing many websites and social media platforms.

In the past, the students were allowed to make use of a public phone booth for communication with their contacts outside the campus. Many students who adopted the use of email for communication also fear that their emails could be tracked.

The development has made communication with the students difficult, even as the ongoing crisis rattles the institution.

Evasive university officials

Attempts to get reactions from the institution on the possible cause of the food poisoning, and how the situation is being managed were unsuccessful, as calls were evaded while messages were not replied to by officials.

The university’s Head of Media and Public Affairs, Chichi Ononiwu, who did not pick up her telephone for hours, quickly cut off the call as soon as our reporter mentioned the incident to her when she eventually picked up the call on Sunday night.

Ms Ononiwu, who requested the identity of our reporter when she eventually picked up the call, cut off the line as soon as the matter was raised, and has refused to pick up subsequent calls.

Other journalists also confirmed Ms Ononiwu’s similar behaviour when they called her for comments on the matter.

Not first time

It is not the first time the university would be recording incident of food poisoning on the campus. A similar development was reported in 2010 when many students were said to have been hospitalised. Newspaper reports at the time confirmed the development.

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