By Ikechukwu Odu
NSUKKA- Eight labourers working at a building site in Igogoro community, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State have been choked to death by generator fume.
It was gathered that a yet to be identified labourer working at a building site belonging to one Stephen Uramah, ran short of water and in the process moved his generator inside a septic tank to enable him to siphon water to his workplace.
Confirming the incident, Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ebere Amaraizu, said “No fewer than eight persons have been confirmed dead in Enugu underground water safety tank.
“The incident is said to have occurred at a building site located at Igogoro in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu state on 22/7/19. It was gathered that a yet to be identified worker in the site had on that fateful day and in the process of trying to evacuate water from the said tank got trapped inside the underground tank and having waited for the worker and was not seen, the others started going in to offer help but were also said to have been trapped there and became unconscious.
“They were later recovered by other sympathisers and police operatives who raced to the scene and rushed them to general hospital Ogurute, Igbo-Eze North where the doctor on duty confirmed them dead.
“Meanwhile the state commissioner of police Suleiman Balarabe has expressed shock at the incident which he described as unfortunate. He has also directed for a full-scale investigation into the incident just as their dead bodies have been deposited at the hospital mortuary of general hospital Ogurute,” he said.
An eyewitness, Silas Odo, said that the water in the tank was almost exhausted which made the labourer to move his generator inside it.
Odo added that soon after the labourer started the generator, the carbon circulated and heated the environment. He said that he came out, washed his head to relief himself of the effects of the carbon and returned inside the tank before he was choked to death.
“They came to work for my son who is building his residential house. They have even finished working for my son and had returned for refreshment when someone raised an alarm about a choking labourer in the nearby building site.
” One of them rushed inside the tank to help him out and suffocated to death. Seeing what had happened, others tried also to assist them and they all got choked to death,” he said.
When Vanguard visited the family of one of the deceased, the father, Ossai Eze, said he finds it difficult to believe that his 24-yr-old son, Oluchi Eze, will not return to him alive again.
Also, another bereaved father, John Onu said, he had not found enough courage to discuss the tragic death of his son, Ejike Onu.
In the families, Vanguard visited, sympathisers were seen in their numbers consoling the bereaved.
Chidi Idoko, who also lost a brother in the incident, gave the names of the victims he could remember as follows: Uchechukwu Idoko, Oluchi Eze, Ejike Onu, Omenkeya Eze, Ifeanyi Abugu.