From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Female students of the Universal Basic Education (UBE), Junior Secondary School, Nyiman layout, Makurdi, the Benue state capital have reportedly been sent home after seven female students of the school manifested strange behaviour on Monday.
Impeccable sources from the school told newsmen that four students were initially had manifested the strange behaviour last Friday adding that the number swelled to seven by Monday.
Our source who did not want to be named disclosed that the attack is known to affect only females but not contagious in any way.
The development was said to have made the school authority to ask all female students to return home while the make students continue with their studies.
When Daily Sun visited the school on Monday, it was observed that male students as well as some of the affected female students who were waiting for their parents to take them home were still in school.
When contacted, Principal of the school, Catherine Ahom declined to comment on the matter but directed newsmen to the Education Secretary Makurdi Local Government Area Education Authority (LGEA), for more information on the matter.
On his part, the Education Secretary, Makurdi Local Government Area Education Authority (LGEA), Patrick Aese who confirmed the report described the strange manifestation as a spiritual attack popularly called in Tiv local parlance as ‘iyor genen’.
He said when news got to him about the attacks, he directed the principal to send home only students that were affected.
He noted that it became necessary to send the effected girls home was because during such seizures, the likelihood of the other girls reacting to the attack was high, but added that soon as those affected are separated from the rest, normalcy is restored.
He allayed fears of parents and students of the school saying there was no cause for alarm, since the attack was neither contagious nor transferable.
Aese explained that the attack had been with the Tiv people for a long time now and only affects females stressing that in the past, it was known to affect young ladies of marriageable age but expressed worry that even young’s girls of about ten years old are also affected by the strange occurrence.
The Education Secretary however noted that such attack does not have lasting effect and may last for a period of a maximum of one hour and then wear off.
According to him, the affected persons were ‘alergic’ to certain shades of colours, noise and whistling, adding that they mostly have the feat during burials.
He listed some of the symptoms of the spiritual attack to include sudden complaints of chest pain, falling down or running in a violent manner, adding that it would take efforts of strong men to be able to tame them.
“It is such that when one person has the attack, others too begin to react in same manner. This happens mostly at burial ceremonies but it’s not anything too serious as to cause any fear because the affected girls are not violent to anybody and they become normal within minutes.
He said many traditionalists in the state had herbs that when administered, could contain the situation and make the affected girls calm down and become normal again.