Aba (Abia) – The Police in Aba, Abia, has confirmed the death of a four-year-old boy after an all night prayer in a church on Saturday morning.
The police, who did not give the name of the deceased, also confirmed that 15 other persons were choked during the event.
A group called the “Young People’s Christian Fellowship, Ututu, Arochukwu’’, were reportedly made unconscious by fumes from a generating set used for the all night prayer meeting.
The police Area Commander, Aba, ACP Peter Wabara, made this known to newsmen in Aba.
“We got a phone call this morning that some persons were allegedly lying dead in a church at 8 Eziukwu road by Milverton Avenue, Aba.
“So I mobilised my men and called in some doctor friends since the government doctors were on strike and they accompanied us to the scene of the event.
“There we looked through the glass door and found them lying unconscious in a scattered manner. Fortunately, some of them were breathing so we moved them to two hospitals,” he said.
Wabara said that 11 of the worshipers were evacuated to Austin-Graces hospital on Okigwe road while four of them were moved to Goodness and Mercy hospital on Faulks road, Aba.
According to the commander, before leaving the scene, the rescue team searched the church environment and found a generating set that had exhausted its fuel and quenched but was still hot.
The commander said that there was a noxious odour in the air of the warehouse-turned-church which gave them the impression that the worshippers may have over-inhaled carbon monoxide.
He said that he accompanied the Deputy Governor of the state, Col. Emeka Ananaba (Rtd) to the hospitals and found that the persons involved were responding to treatment.
Wabara also said that the deputy governor had made a donation of an undisclosed sum of money.
The money was donated after a meeting with the Area Commander, the Commissioner for Health and an assistant medical director, at Abia State Teaching Hospital, Aba.
Some of the persons brought to Austin-Graces hospital had recovered and could recognise people, but were unable to field reporter’s enquiries during the visit.
Dr Philip Richard, Senior Pastor, Word Alife Assembly, Aba, the Secretary of pastors from Arochukwu in Aba, said that the worshippers were all indigenes of Ututu in Arochukwu local government area.
“I was not there but I had a phone call telling me this morning that the believers from Ututu in Arochukwu who went to pray in a church in Aba had all died.
“I left all that I was doing to get to the scene of the event. We have a fellowship of believers of Ututu origin in Aba and they came to pray for themselves and their community at this venue.
“I was not there. They are from various churches and not from one church. The husband and wife whose child died are from my own church,” he said.
Meanwhile, a police source who was among the rescuers, said that the boy died as a result of the weight of his heavily-built father which fell on him when the man became unconscious.
The source said the child was seating beside his father and when they became unconscious, the father unknowingly fell to that side of his seat, pressing the boy and making breathing hard for him.
Another source from Ututu, on condition of anonymity said that the man and his wife had lost one of their two children last month.
She said that they were left with only the boy that died at the prayer meeting on July 26. (NAN)