Family of seven die in Benin City due to suspected food poisoning

Tragedy struck in the ancient city of Benin, Edo State capital, as seven members of a family died after a meal in what is believed to be a case of food poisoning.

The incident, which occurred at No 40, Otete Street, off Textile Mill Road, Ogida quarters, in Egor Local Government Area of the state, threw the entire neighbourhood into mourning.

The house was deserted for fear that there might be mass arrest with a few sympathisers seen outside the compound.

A neighbour of the victims, one Mrs Christy Igbinadolor told newsmen that she did not know that anything was amiss until a man came to ask her about the whereabouts of her neighbours and she advised the inquirer to go to the house and knock at their door.

“This morning, when I woke up, I sat outside and I saw one man who came to ask me where are these people (the victims) and I replied him that I am just waking up from sleep”, Igbinadolor said.

“I told him that I just sat down here reading my Bible. I said I have not seen them this morning. The only thing I saw was that when I woke up last night there was light in their house, but when I woke up this morning, there was no light again.

“So, from there, the man went to the compound and knocked at their door. And I asked what happened he said it was their senior brother in Port Harcourt that called him and that he should come down and find out what was going on,” she added.

According to her, “I told him that when there is no response, the only thing he should do is to go to the police station and report. So, the man went to the police station and when he came back, he came with some policemen and some members of the man’s church. So they broke the door and found out that some of them have died. So, they carried them to the hospital.”

She added that when the father of the deceased was called, he came to find his children lying on the floor.

“They dragged about five of them out. Some of them have babies because one of the man’s daughters came with her children. The man’s children were grown up and they were the ones staying in the house while two of the man’s children were staying with the man’s late wife but they decided to come and mourn their mother here in Benin when this incident happened”, she said further.

Mrs Rachel Anyanwu, another sympathiser, explained that the father had some five days earlier lost his wife, adding that those who had been rushed to the hospital were the man’s children and relatives who came to empathise with him over the loss of his wife.

According to Anyanwu, all efforts to resuscitate one of the children were abortive and they had to rush all of them to the hospital.

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“The man lost his wife last week Sunday and today makes it five days now. Those who were rushed to the hospital this morning were his children and other relatives who came to sympathize with the man over the death of his wife. I know the man as an evangelist while his late wife was a pastor,” Anyanwu said.

Also speaking, another sympathiser, Mr Felix Ejofor, who claimed he rushed the victims to Central Hospital Benin City, said he was drawn to the scene by the cries of people and on getting to the compound, he met some policemen. He added that when he took a close look at the deceased, he discovered that two of the children were in their school uniforms while a pot of food was also close by. He decided to help by rushing them to the hospital for quick medical attention.

At the Central Hospital, the body of one of the deceased was seen inside a van, just as a man identified as Solomon Omo-Osaro, who said he brought one of his relations to the hospital for medical attention, claimed that he saw them rushing four others into the hospital.

“I have a patient here, it is an emergency, as I was about going out, I saw them rushed a woman here with some family but when I got here, I noticed that the doctor was trying to revive her. Others that came with her have been rushed to the Central Hospital. I don’t actually know the number but I saw them rushing four of them into Central Hospital,” he said.

Edo State Police Command, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Chidi Nwanbuzor, when contacted, told journalists that he had not been briefed and would reach out to the newsmen. However, all calls to his line thereafter remained unanswered.


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