•UNN vet team steps up investigation
From KASSIDY UCHENDU, Nsukka
The casualty figure in the Enugu meat poisoning tragedy has increased with the death of a pregnant guest at the ill-fated funeral ceremony. The deceased is said to hail from Nze autonomous community in Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State even as a team of medical experts from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Faculty of Veterinary Science has begun investigation into the alleged poisoned meat. It would be recalled that Sunday Sun reported that some guests who attended a funeral ceremony hosted by a widow at Elu Onicha Ama-Egbu Village, Ede-Oballa community in Nsukka LGA, Enugu State died after eating pork meat suspected to be poisoned.
Our correspondent who accompanied the UNN team of experts probing the source of the alleged poisoning to Elu Onicha Ama-Egbu Ede-Oballa community reports that the experts took blood sample and feaces of the only pig at the pen of the pig farmer who allegedly sold the controversial dead pig. Meanwhile, one of the victims of the poisoning admitted at the Shepherd Hospital, Nsukka Urban is in critical condition and hospital authorities are said to be contemplating transferring him to another hospital. According to a hospital source, victims of the alleged meat poisoning were defecating and vomiting blood when they were brought to the hospital and only one of them who was brought in late died at the hospital.
Mrs. Caroline Akweka, the widow who hosted the memorial ceremony in remembrance of her late husband, John, who died in 2002, told Sunday Sun at her home in Ama-Egbu that she bought the controversial pig at N13,000 and had shared it with another widow, Mrs. Asogwa Uchechukwu, who was also cerebrating the funeral ceremony of her late husband. According to the embattled widow, whose son Emeka, is now cooling off in police cell at Enugu in her stead, none of her children and even herself had any problem after partaking of the alleged poisoned pork meat.
Eze Ifeanyi, the seller of the controversial “dead pig” is being detained by the police but his elder brother, Ephraim told Sunday Sun that the pig had developed rashes all over its body and was treated by a female health worker with multi-vitamin drug before it died. Ephraim further claimed that he partook of the alleged poisoned meat with his other siblings but nothing happened to them. He however defended his brother saying that the female health worker did not instruct him to bury the animal on the event of its death as claimed by the health worker.
The pig farmer, Ifeanyi Eze, Emeka Akweka, son of the widow , who organized the ceremonies and another widow, Asogwa Uchechukwu are in police custody while the female health worker is said to be on the run. Ede-Oballa community reacting through its traditional ruler, Engr. Chris Asogwa, condemned the action of the pig farmer, Mr. Eze “for deliberately selling poisoned dead pig to the funeral celebrants”. “Ede-Oballa is a peace loving community.
We don’t make trouble. What the young man did was out of wickedness because we were told that the girl who treated the pig told him to bury the pig if it died within 21 days”. He commended the efforts of the UNN Vet team for stepping up an investigation into the source of the poisoning that has led to the deaths of some people and brought hardship to many, adding that their findings would be of immense benefit to humanity.” Leader of the UNN Vet team, Dr. J.A. Nwanta said the investigation was part of their commitment to their host community .
“When we got the news of what happened, as part of our mandate, our dean mandated us to go and investigate and find out what happened and collaborate with our medical colleagues”. He declined further comments until the investigation is concluded. A young research fellow, Dr. Uchendu Goodhead who catalyzed the faculty’s action said he was impressed by the prompt response of the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.