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18 pupils hospitalised after eating government’s free meal in Osun (video)

Osun State Government has begun an investigation into the reported case of food poisoning at James Primary School B, in Owo-Ope, Osogbo, 

18 pupils of the school reportedly landed in the hospital after eating a mid-day meal of rice and egg served to them under the free school feeding programme of the state government.

The incident which happened on Monday, December 11, 2023, caused panic, especially among parents of the affected pupils. 

A statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, on Tuesday, said the governor, Ademola Adeleke, also directed the stoppage of further food cooking at the affected school pending the outcome of the investigations.

According to the statement, the victims have been treated and discharged from hospitals. 

“Osun State Government has ordered full investigations into the reported cases of food poisoning at St James primary School B, Owoope Osogbo,” the statement read. 

“The State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, directed immediate action when the matter was reported to him by the Special Adviser on O-Meal, Mrs Grace Ayodele. The Governor has subsequently directed the stoppage of further food cooking at the affected school pending the outcome of the investigations.

“The affected cooks in the said schools alongside the planning officer for the O-Meal programme have also been summoned to a meeting by Tuesday morning. Additionally, the governor has directed enforcement of food standards and control as well as the auditing of the O-Meal structure to forestall future occurrences.

“Meanwhile, the government is settling the medical bills of the affected students as narrated by the Chairman of the Local Government Education Authority, Mr Nathaniel Ojetola. The LGEA Chairman who was at the forefront of the intervention efforts disclosed that a total number of 18 students were treated and discharged.

“The total student population of the school is 200 while 103 are within the population receiving food from the O-Meal Programme. A government delegation is also visiting families of the affected students.”

A video posted online shows three of the victims receiving drip.

Narrating how they became ill, one of the victims said they were served rice with egg, after which they started running stool.

Mothers of the victims said they observed foul smell of the egg their children were served when they returned home from school on Monday.

They said their children started stooling not long after returning from school, raising concerns about the food the vendor served them. 

A parent of three pupils of the school named Iya Taye, who spoke to the Nation, disclosed that her children returned home weak after vomiting and frequent stooling.

She confirmed that her children started experiencing discomfort after eating the food in school. 

“I have invited a doctor to treat my children. Other parents took their children to hospital but I have a doctor relation who helped me. My children are receiving treatment inside,” she added. 

A top source in the school confirmed that over 50 pupils were affected one way or the other over the alleged food poisoning. 

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