Panic spread through Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State, on Tuesday as approximately 35 pupils of Fakunle Comprehensive School were rushed to hospitals after inhaling teargas fired by riot policemen. The incident occurred when the policemen, attached to the PMF 39 Base in Osogbo, were conducting their morning drill within the base premises and inadvertently released teargas.
Reports indicate that the teargas drifted into the school premises, affecting pupils who subsequently lost consciousness. Concerned parents and guardians quickly gathered at the school seeking information about the welfare of their children. Parents of affected children were directed to the hospitals where they were receiving medical attention, while others promptly took their children home.
A source within the school disclosed that the incident took place around 9 a.m. when pupils were already in their respective classrooms. The teargas, discharged by the riot policemen, permeated the premises, causing some pupils to lose consciousness. The affected pupils were promptly rushed to a nearby private hospital and the Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, by operatives of the Osun Ambulance Scheme who responded to a distress call from the school.
Upon arrival at the school located on the Osogbo-Ikirun Road, journalists found only teachers present, as the remaining pupils had been instructed to return home. Although none of the teachers were willing to comment on the situation, a concerned parent identified as Gideon confirmed that he was directed to the Osun State University Teaching Hospital to check on his daughter, who had been affected by the teargas.
In response to the incident, the spokesperson for the Osun State Police Command, Yemisi Opalola, explained that the riot policemen were engaged in their routine morning drills, which involved the use of teargas. She extended apologies to those affected and acknowledged the need for adjustments in their operations, considering the proximity of the base to other business operations.
Head of Operations for the Osun Ambulance Scheme, Elizabeth Arowosafe, provided further details, stating that 11 patients were transported to the Osun State University Teaching Hospital after all available bed spaces at the nearby private hospital had been occupied. Arowosafe also mentioned that the school authorities were advised to dismiss the pupils for the day to prevent further complications.
A total of approximately 35 pupils were rushed to hospitals as a result of the incident. The prompt response of the Osun Ambulance Scheme and the cooperation of the school authorities helped mitigate the situation and ensure that the affected pupils received immediate medical attention.