Nebechi Dieke, a newly married woman, whose husband Obinna Dieke and five relatives died, has told her story.
Nebechi's husband and relatives died just 12 hours after they returned from her traditional marriage ceremony in Enugu State.
The victims died on Saturday, August 27 at Eka Utara, Adani community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state.
The 31-year-old Makurdi, Benue State based businessman and his relatives had returned from the ceremony held in the bride’s home in Obollor-Eke community, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State on Friday, August 26 and continued with the celebration into the night when they returned to Adani.
The following morning, however, none of them came out of the room where they slept, prompting the decision to force the door open.
“All of them in the room were found to be unconscious with foams coming out of their mouths.
“They were immediately moved to the hospital where six of them were confirmed dead and deposited in the mortuary for preservation and autopsy, while the others are responding to treatment,” a statement from the state police command had said.
It was gathered that their in-law, Joseph Ogbonna, and his two sons, Chijindu and Obinna, also died in the tragic incident.
Villagers suspect that the victims died of carbon monoxide inhaled from a generator that was brought onto the veranda of a house where the victims slept while it was raining after they returned from the wedding ceremony.
Nebechi, her sister-in-law and mother-in-law, alongside seven others, were among 10 other victims admitted in the hospital. While some others have been discharged, Nebechi and a few others were waiting to be discharged from the hospital.
Speaking on her hospital bed, Nebechi told our correspondent that she could not remember what happened after they got home that night.
She said: “After my traditional marriage rites, we entered vehicle and left for my husband’s house.
“When we got home, we prayed and went to bed. That is the only thing I can remember. I’m yet to see my husband’s corpse because of my condition,” she said.
The groom’s sister, Ada Nweke, added that she passed out without remembering anything and only woke up in the hospital.
“The only thing I can remember is that on August 26 when my brother did his traditional marriage, we all returned home and commenced another round of celebration.
“Those who accompanied my brother to the event and those who couldn’t make it all gathered in our house to make merry.
“After eating and drinking, we bathed and went to bed. But I woke up in the hospital after two days. I can’t even explain what happened to us.
Providing insight into the possible cause of the death of the victims, Dr. Godson Chinedu Ezugwu, who managed the victims at the Igwe Agbata Memorial Hospital, Adani, attributed the incident to acute poisoning.
According to him, it was only an autopsy result that could determine whether the deceased died of food poisoning or generator fumes.
“What happened to them is called acute poisoning. We are still suspecting carbon monoxide poisoning that might have come from the fumes that came from the generator they used that night, which paralysed them.
“We are also suspecting insecticide or pesticide which might have touched their food that led to this huge casualty.
“However, we are still going to rely on autopsy results whenever it is done,” he said.
Dr. Ezeugwu advised users of generators to always keep them away from their rooms if they must be used for longer hours in the night.
He added: “I want to advise people who use generators to always keep them away from their rooms. Generator fumes kill faster than poison. So, you will be on a suicide mission if you still use generators close to your house.
“Again, anyone handling insecticides and pesticides must know that it should always be kept away from the reach of children. These things are poisonous and they are not supposed to be kept where it can be touched by children.
“We thank God that it is through us that the 10 persons who went into coma were revived.
“We also thank our people who heard about the incident and brought oxygen tanks with which the victims were revived.”