BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI—Tragedy struck, Monday, at Amakohia Ubi, Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State, as a 10-year-old girl dumped a five-month old baby into a boiling pot of soup, while trying to escape from a rampaging masquerade.
An angry villager, Chika, who claimed that she witnessed the incident, told Vanguard that the masquerade pursued the frightened girl into the backyard of a house where a food vendor was cooking.
She said: “The man behind the mask only stopped pursuing the baby-nurse when he realised that the five-month old baby had slipped off his handler’s hand into the pot.”
According to Chika, the baby nurse was almost roasted, as she fell by the fire side. She added that some people made frantic efforts to save the children’s lives.
“Efforts made by some people at the scene to save the life of the baby proved abortive as he was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor at a nearby hospital,” the witness recounted.
Another villager, who simply identified himself as Paul, told Vanguard that “the baby was the only issue of his parents.”
Paul also disclosed that Owu masquerade festival was a cultural event in the area, but wondered why some of the participants sadly turned it into something dreadful.
He said: “Owu or Okorosha is a cultural event, but some people have sadly transformed it into a dreaded festival. The festival is now characterised by wanton display of charms and unnecessary harassment of female folks in the community.”
When Vanguard visited the home of the bereaved family yesterday, the parents of the dead baby were still bemoaning their sordid experience, while scores of sympathisers continued trooping in and out of the compound.
Efforts made to reach either the traditional ruler, Eze Smart Nze, or the town union president for their comments on the incident proved abortive.
Meanwhile, the Okorosha festival, which normally lasts for a month, has been temporarily suspended, following the incident.