Three pupils of Local Education Authority Primary School, Kubwa 2, Federal Capital Territory, have reportedly died after eating some biscuits.
The snack was allegedly shared to the victims by an unidentified classmate on Tuesday.
Two pupils were said to have died at home in the night, while the third victim reportedly collapsed and died at Kubwa General Hospital on Wednesday.
The victims, said to be primary four pupils, include Na’imat Yahaya, 14, and Yahaya Garba also 14, who reportedly died after returning to their homes in Kubwa.
The third victim, identified as Moses Sunday in Primary One, was said to have been taken to the Kubwa General Hospital, along with two other pupils, namely, Aisha Isa and Hasiya Haruna.
The deceased were said to have been buried on Wednesday (today) afternoon by their bewildered family members and sympathisers.
The incident spread panic in the community, as parents besieged the school and forcibly took away their children.
Our correspondent who visited the school saw the teachers discussing the incident, while the headmistress gave an account of the tragedy to officials of the FCT Education Secretariat, who were at the school on a fact-finding mission.
Journalists were barred from the briefing and the headmistress, whose name could not be immediately ascertained, declined to comment on the incident.
Nigerian Union of Teachers officials, who also visited the school, declined to speak to journalists.
A survivor, Hasiya Haruna, who was on admission at the emergency ward of the hospital, looked pale in her school uniform as she lay on the bed, with her worried mother anxiously watching over her.
The distressed mother, Fatima, told Flavblist that she rushed Hasiya, 13, to the hospital when she learnt that she partook of the biscuits at school.
She explained that her daughter, a primary three pupil, informed her that she was given the snack by “a Muslim sister.”
Fatima, who spoke in Hausa, said, “There was a party in the school where my daughter was given biscuit, alongside with other pupils. We discovered that some pupils died at night.
“So, I asked her if she ate the biscuit and who gave her. She said it was shared to them by a Muslim sister and so I was satisfied with her explanation.
“But we were asked to take her to the hospital because some pupils died. So, I decided to bring her here (Kubwa General Hospital).”
Fatima said she gave Hasiya some herbal concoction at home when she complained of stomach pains, adding that she was apprehensive when she heard that other pupils had died.
“When I heard that Naimat had died, I quickly brought my daughter to the hospital; but since we got here, nobody has attended to us,” she complained.
But the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Lasisi Akinola, feigned ignorance of the incident, saying the hospital had admitted some sick pupils which he described as nothing unusual.
“We receive sick pupils and people all the time; so, there is nothing unusual about that.
“I know we have the corpse of a pupil who died after a fight with another pupil, but I don’t have information on what you are talking about,” he stated.
The FCT police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, said the Police had opened an investigation into the incident, adding that the case would be transferred to the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department.
Confirming the incident, the FCT Administration Education Secretariat, in a statement by its spokesman, Tony Ogunleye, said three pupils had died, while two others were hospitalised “in circumstances that are still under investigation by relevant authorities, including the Nigerian Police Force and the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCT.”
It added that the school has been closed down for the rest of the week to enable investigating authorities to carry out a thorough assessment.