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Fear Of Poisoned Foodstuffs Spreads

Man dies after eating carrot ||  There is palpable fear in some parts of the country following rumours making the rounds   that some unidentified persons have poisoned foodstuffs and fruits brought to other parts of the country from strife torn Plateau State.

A text message sent to residents of Enugu State purportedly warned people of the South East to shun foodstuffs and fruits, alleging that some people from the northern part of the country had poisoned the items as a reprisal attack over the Jos crisis that has claimed many lives.

In Benue State, the death of a 25- year old graduate of Sociology from Benue State University who was said to have died after eating carrots he bought from a street hawker has caused panic among residents of Makurdi, the state capital.

LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that sellers of foodstuffs in the various markets in Enugu are counting their losses because of the rumour, which has already gained grounds.

Speaking to our correspondent, a roadside seller of fruits, Mr. Obinna Ogadinma said he “records very low sales daily because of the rumour” and called for government intervention in enlightening the people on the issue.

“Since this rumour gained grounds, we don’t sell anything again. Yesterday, I could not make reasonable sales because people were afraid that they would die if they eat fruits brought from the North.

“This rumour is a dangerous one and if it is not checked, it could lead to economic hardship among us. In fact, the sales we made yesterday came from people who were not aware of the rumour but the moment they heard about it, they would refuse to patronise us.

“I’m calling on the government to look into this. It is only government that can tell people to disregard the rumour. Traders, especially, fruit sellers are all already suffering, if it continues this way, we may not sell anything in the future,” he stated.

Reacting to the rumour, Mr. Azuka Obaji, a resident of Obiagu in Ogui New Layout, said he had already instructed members of his family to “ stay away from anything from the north for now”.

“My brother, let me tell you the truth, I cannot risk the lives of my family members. There is no rumour. Although I have deleted the message, I strongly believe that we should heed the advice. Others can try but for me, I have warned all my children not to taste fruits for now,” he stated.

Commenting on the text message in his sermon on Sunday, the priest in charge of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Trans Ekulu, Enugu, Monsignor Chidi Ogbuene said he was shocked when he received the text message.

He regretted that the Southeast zone has refused to invest its money in agriculture, lamenting that about 98 per cent of what the zone consumes comes from the North, and warning that the development portends danger.

“The North produces about 98  per cent of what we consume here in the South East and yet we are proud to say that we are traders and businessmen.

In Benue, LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that the deceased, Michael Adzor of Kanshio village, Makurdi, last Monday consumed carrots he bought in Wurukum and died on his way home.

Consequently, the incident heightened fears raised by text messages being circulated warning people not to consume food items sold by street hawkers in the state.

When LEADERSHIP contacted the police, they confirmed the incident acknowledging the report lodged by the father of the deceased who, they said, declined further.pursuing the case.

The police informed LEADERSHIP that the deceased was actually taken to Hemko hospital, Kanshio but the cause of the death was  not confirmed.

LEADERSHIP gathered from the hospital that it confirmed the young man dead but the cause of the death was not confirmed.

However, the mother of the deceased Mrs. Victoria Adzor told Leadership that, the younger brother of the deceased who had left to Aliade and have eaten the carrots together with his brother was quickly advised to consume a bottle of palm oil to dilute the suspected poison.

When contacted the younger brother of the deceased admitted taking the palm oil as instructed by his mother for fear of the unknown.

It could be noted that, the fear of food poisoning has been lingering on in the state in recent time, as sources close to the police have confirmed that during the yuletide season, some religious fanatics were suspected to be distributing perfumes to unsuspecting members of the public, particularly Christians to kill them un-noticed.

-Leadership

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Posted by on Jan 27 2011. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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