By Huseyn Mbar
Accidental leak of a chemical substance suspected to be chlorine from a cylinder in Bauchi on Friday, endangered the health of some students of a private school, Rainex Hallmark International College, who were attending classes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the cylinders, presumably empty, said to be owned by some businessmen from Kano, were kept in premises close to the College, located in Fadaman Mada Area of Bauchi.
A woman who described herself as the ‘Director of the School’ told NAN in a telephone interview Saturday that the incident occurred at about 10 am on Friday.
“The students affected were both boys and girls. We had to rush them to the Specialists’ Hospital, Bauchi, where they were treated.
“I cannot tell you the exact number of those affected because I was not in my senses as we were trying to save their lives.
“We thank God that they have all recovered and there was no loss of lives,” said the women, who did not want her name printed.
An eye witness, who pleaded for anonymity, told NAN that apart from the students, other people conducting various trades around the area were also injured.
“What actually happened is that the owners were trying to load the cylinders into a van, using a crane, when a mishap occurred and remnants of chlorine in one of the cylinders started leaking.
“People started running for their lives as the leaked chemical spread into the atmosphere, affecting the eyes and entire body.
“The situation was contained after some minutes but the damage had been done. We thank God that there was no report of death,” he said.
A panel beater at the vicinity, Muda Olawale, told NAN that he and his son were affected but that they had recovered now.
When NAN correspondent visited the place of the incident on Saturday, leaves of surrounding trees and grasses were seen completely burnt as a result of the chlorine chemical emission, just as the remains of lizards and other tiny living things litter the area.
Contacted for his comment by NAN, Bauchi Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Mahmoud Mohammed, said he would issue a statement on the matter at a later time.
NAN recalls a near-similar incident in July 2015, when chlorine chemical leak as a result of burst at the Lamingo Water Treatment Plant of Plateau Water Board in Jos, claimed the lives of eight people and injured no fewer than 50 others.
Two students of the National Film Institute (NFI), Jos, which school is located close to the water treatment plant, were among the victims that died in the Jos incident.