From KASSIDY UCHENDU, Nsukka
No fewer than six people have been reported dead and over 60 hospitalized in Amegu village, Ede-Oballa in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State following an alleged poisoning of pork meat they took at a funeral ceremony.
According to reports from Ede-Oballa, more than 60 guests developed severe stomach problems after the funereal ceremony, prompting their immediate hospitalization. Investigation by Sunday Sun showed that all the popular hospitals in the university town of Nsukka including the Catholic Mission- owned Bishop Shanahan have been flooded with the victims who were said to be in critical conditions. A woman was said to be the first casualty of the meat poisoning followed by three girls while it was feared that two others who are not natives of the community also died.
It was gathered that a pig farmer who sold the infected animal to a woman (name withheld) who hosted the funeral, was in police net. Hospital sources expressed apprehension over the survival of the victims, saying they ought to have been rushed to the hospital same night. “In a situation like this, victims should be rushed to the hospital promptly for early stomach wash”, said a hospital source. The source however said frantic efforts are being made to save the lives of the victims Another reliable source suspected that guests at the funeral might have been served the meat of a dead pig injected by a veterinary doctor.
The source said the owner of the pig (name withheld) had lied to the woman that the pig fell into a ditch. Apparently due to the intimidating size of the pig and its relative cheapness, the woman quickly entered a bargain and bought the meat not knowing it was sick and had been treated recently by a veterinary doctor who also advised that in the event of its death, the animal should be buried. A source quoted the doctor who has been quizzed by the police as saying that he advised the pig farmer to bury the animal if it died within three weeks of the injection.
The tragic incident has caused tension in Nsukka zone where pigs are used at funeral ceremonies as an imperative and status symbol. It was gathered that since the incident, guests at burial ceremonies in the area have been avoiding pork. This has created problems for pig farmers who have lost patronage due to the tragedy.
Our reporter could not reach the veterinary doctor at the time of filing this report. A senior police officer attached to the Nsukka Urban Police Command said that some of the guests and the pig farmer were helping the police in their investigation.