By Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU – ENUGU State government has reiterated its commitment to assist the families of eight young men that recently died inside a safety tank at Enugu Ezike, in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the State.
Executive Chairman of the Council Area, Comrade Uwakwe Ezeja, made this known when he led a special delegation on condolence visit to the affected families, on behalf of the government and people of Enugu State.
Comrade Ezeja told the community that Enugu State governor, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was shocked by the sad development sent him to deliver his condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the affected families and the entire Igbo-Eze North local council.
He who disclosed that Ugwuanyi had promised his government would not abandon them at their current difficult moments, pointing out that it was a huge tragedy for a people to lose eight men who are still in their prime to the cold hands of death at a time.
Recalled that the victims were said to have been choked to death by carbon monoxide, inside the safety tank.
According to eyewitnesses, tragedy had struck when tank owner Stephen Mamah, contracted a yet to be identified man, an indigene of Ebonyi State, to help him syphon water from the facility, which is still under construction.
It was gathered that the man had placed a water-pump generating set inside the tank to pump the water out, but that after a while, he entered the tank to check the water level, and in the process, he got chocked to death. When other young men who were working at another building site nearby sensed that the man had stayed inside the tank for too long without coming out, they reportedly decided to check on him but found him body lying still in there.
It was further gathered, they had entered the underground tank One by one to rescue the first victim, till seven of them got choked to death inside, as well. One of the victims hailed from Igogro, six from Amachara communities, both in Igbo-Eze North Local government Areas, and the eightieth person, who was the first victim was from Ebonyi State. They include Ifeanyi Abugu, Amuche, Abugu, Omenkeya Eze, Oluchi Eze. Emeka Abugu, Uche Idoko, Ejike Onu and the man from Ebonyi State.
Comrade Ezeja called on the people to remain calm and pray for the repose of the souls of the departed, for God to give the bereaved the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss of the vibrant young men.
“We are here to condole with you and ourselves too, over the unfortunate tragedy that has befallen us, on behalf of His Excellency, the governor of Enugu State, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the people of Igbo-Eze North LGA and Enugu State in general.
“His Excellency is pained and weighed down by this sad development and he has sent us to ask you to take heart. He also asked us to assure you that government would support families of the deceased, especially during their burial. Government would not abandon them,” he assured.
Comrade Ezeja also visited the scene of the incident, as well as the traditional ruler of the village, the Oha Council and as well addressed Amachara youths at a general gathering.
After inspecting the scene of the incident, the Council Chairman ascribed the tragedy to accident that had occurred as a result of ignorance of the effects of carbon monoxide, on the part of the first victims, adding that subsequent victims could have died over compassion and the spirit of Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya (being brother’s keeper).
He noted, during a press interview that, “My immediate view from this is that the victims were possibly chocked to death by carbon monoxide from the generator fumes. This is an accident, and I have enjoined our people to take things easy and avoid drawing conclusions over the development,” he said.
Those at the gathering during the condolence visit include the Divisional Police Officer of Igbo-Eze North Division, SP Anagoh Chinedu; Traditional ruler of Amachala Autonomous Community and Chairman Council of Igbo-Eze North Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Igwe Gabriel Agbedo; Parish Priest of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Amachala, Fr.Eloka; and the eldest man in the LGA, who hails from Amachala village, Pa Agu Samuel Eze, among others.
They thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for the visit and as well hailed him for his concern and for always identifying with the people both in time of joy and in time of grief. They also appreciated Comrade Ezeja for his large-heartedness and as well thanked SP Anagoh for his proactive efforts.