By Tony Edike
Enugu – IT ISÂ certainly a tragedy shrouded in mystery. For how else can one describe the difficult-to-explain death of three men inside a six-feet deep soak-away tank in Garriki Area of Enugu in Enugu South Local Government Area last weekend.
The incident which occurred at about 11 am at No. 15 Umuaniabor Street in Enugu metropolis, has since thrown residents of the area into a guess game of what could have caused such sudden deaths.Â While some suspected that the deceased may have inhaled a toxic waste emitting from the underground soak-away tank,Â Â Â others feared that they may have been killed by an â€œevil spiritâ€ inside the tank.
Two of the victims who could not be immediately identified were said to be staff of a sewage management company, One with God Sewage Services, while the third was a tenant in the three-storey building.
An eyewitness told Vanguard Metro at the scene of the incident that the tenants had invited staff of the sewage company to evacuate faeces from the underground septic sewage, which they successfully did between 9 am and 11 am on the fateful day.
But after evacuating the human wastes, the workers opened the soak-away side apparently to check if there were some faeces left in the soak-away, but unknown to them, death was waiting in the pit.
An eyewitness said:Â â€œAfter opening the soak-away pit, one of them went inside but few seconds after getting in, he shouted and slumped.Â His colleague who immediately rushed into the pit to ascertain what happened also shouted aloud and slumped.
â€œThe noise attracted the tenant who rushed to the scene and saw the two men lying critically in the pit.Â Without wasting time he also went into the pit on a rescue mission only to slump few seconds after.Â Both of them died within a space of five minutes. It was like whoever goes into the pit, which depth was just about six feet, will just collapse and die. It was a strange developmentâ€.
Other tenants and sympathizers who saw how the three men gave up the ghost, the eyewitness further said, refused to move into the pit as they only opened another section of the soak-away and brought a ladder with which they tried to pull out the lifeless bodies of the victims using a rope.
However, they were unable to pull them out before a team of policemen from MTD Garriki Police Station rushed to the scene and ordered everybody out of the compound.
But by the time of filing this report, the three corpses were still lying in the pit while several people converged on the street discussing the incident as women and children in the neighbourhood wept endlessly.
The police officer who led his colleagues to the place said they had immediately contacted officials of the Enugu South Local Government to assist in removing the corpses.