BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI
LAGOS — NO fewer that 25 students of Ogba Junior Secondary School, Lagos, yesterday, went into coma after inhaling a chemical waste allegedly discharged into drainage by a company, Bizcircuit Photo Laboratory, located a few metres from the school premises.
According to reports, the gas enveloped the school premises at noon.
One of the school’s pupils, Adetayo Adekanbi, said: “We were in the classroom when we perceived the offensive gas and smoke clouding the entire premises. We never knew the gas was injurious.
“Immediately I noticed it, I ran towards the gate to escape inhaling the gas. But some of my mates became unconscious after inhaling the gas.”
Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, were said to have rushed to the school and moved the unconscious victims to a private hospital nearby and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH.
Security men, however, prevented access to the victims.
The Head of Logistic, LASEMA, Mr. Femi Giwa, said that of the 25 victims, four were in critical condition but responding to treatment.
Giwa said: “On arrival at the scene, we conducted a general assessment and discovered that certain liquid chemicals, with offensive and choking odour, used for production in the photo lab on the first floor of a shopping complex, could have led to the incident.”
He said that Lagos State government immediately sealed the premises of the photo laboratory concerned and arrested three of its staff.
Giwa, however, assured that proper investigation would be conducted to analysis the chemical that off the offensive gas and its effect on the environment.
State Director of Fire and Safety Services, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe, said officials assisted the rescue team in controlling the chemical fumes from spreading further.