Benin – The mysterious death of seven family members suspected to be connected with food poison has baffled the people within and around Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The ugly incident happened at No 40, Otete Street, off Textile Mill Road, Ogida quarters, in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State after the seven victims had allegedly eaten a meal on Thursday night.
A visit to the victim’s house by reporters met the place deserted as the victims were said to have been evacuated to the Benin Central Hospital while a few sympathisers were seen outside the compound.
It was also gathered that the head of the family said to be an evangelist does not live in that compound.
Speaking on the incident, one of the residents of the area who lives opposite the deceased house, Mrs. Christy Igbinadolor said the mother of four of the victims who lives in the compound died last Sunday while the other three, a woman and her two children came to mourn with the children of the deceased.
She said she was in her house yesterday, (Friday morning) when a man came to ask her about the whereabouts of her neighbours during which she advised him to go to the house and knock at their door and if there is no response, he should go to the police station and report.
According to her, “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.
“I told him that I just sat down here reading my Bible. I said I have not seen them this morning but the only thing I see, is 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 who called him thi morning to go and find out the situation in that compound having put a call to them several times without response.
“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 police men and some members of the man’s church.
“So they broke the door and found out that the seven of them were on the ground and lifeless.
“So, I asked them to call their father who was yet to be aware of the incident. So they called their father and when he came, he went inside the house and found out that his children were 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.
So, the police quickly carried them in their van and took them to the hospital
“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.
Another sympathiser, Mrs. Rachel Anyanwu, said the man who lost his children to food poisoning, lost his wife five days ago and that those who have been rushed to the hospital were his children and his relatives who came to sympathize with him over the death of his wife.
Anyanwu said they tried so hard to revive one of the children but all was to no avail before they were rushed to the hospital.
“The man lost his wife last week Sunday and today making 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 also a pastor”, she said.
Another sympathiser, Mr. Felix Ejofor, who joined the police to rush the victims to the Central Hospital Benin, said he heard people crying at the compound which drew his attention and when he got there, he saw policemen already at the scene adding that when he looked closely, two of the children were already in their school uniforms while a pot of food was also closed by.
“So, he decided to help them by rushing them to the hospital for quick medical attention.
When newsmen got to the Central Hospital, the body of one of the victims was already inside a Van but one Solomon Omo-Osaro who said he brought one of his persons to the hospital for medical attention alleged that he saw them rushing four others into the hospital.
“I have 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 heard it was food poisoning that they have to break into their apartment to save the situation. I was told that somebody has been calling the family from Port Harcourt and nobody picked.
“The woman has to call a neighborhood to see what is happening in their house, then, behold, when they tried to enter, they discovered that the place was locked but they have to break in. And when they did, they discovered that there were bodies laying on the floor. So they decided to rushed them to the hospital.
“I don’t actually know the number but I saw them rushing four of them inside the Central Hospital”, he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwanbuzor, when contacted, initially said he has not been briefed yet and that when he finds out, he would get back to this reporter.
However, after some hours, when the reporter called back, he refused to pick his call.
However, as at the time of filing this report, the journalist could not ascertained if there was any survival as the Public Relations Officer of Central Hospital, Benin also said she has no knowledge of such incident.