Abia Govt, police begin probe of death of Deacon, 6 family members

Abia Gov. Okezie-Ikpeazu: pleads for calm, begins investigation of 7 persons who died after eating Suya and fruit juice

By Sam Oditah

The police and the Abia Government said they have began investigations into the death Sunday Ugba, a deacon in the Assemblies of God Church and six members of his family.

The deceased were found dead last Monday morning in their home at Umueze Ibeku community of Umuahia, the state capital after consuming Suya and fruits the previous Sunday night, according to media report.

Among the dead persons were four children that came on holiday in Ugba’s home.

The Deacon’s wife was rushed unconscious to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, where she is currently receiving medical treatment.

Reacting to the incident in a statement issued in Umuahia on Tuesday, Abia Commissioner for Information, Chief Okiyi Kalu, advised relatives of the deceased persons to remain calm.

Kalu stated that government had contacted all the relevant agencies “to investigate the unfortunate incident”.

“We wish to call for calm and patience to enable the relevant medical authorities to properly determine the cause of the death of the seven persons,” he stated.

The commissioner conveyed the condolences of the state government to the relations and friends of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the Spokesman for the Abia Police Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, said the command had “commenced investigation into the sad incident”.

Ogbonna, however, said that no arrest had been made, adding that “investigation is ongoing to ascertain the actual cause of the death”.

He appealed to the public, especially relations and friends of the deceased, to assist the command with useful information that could help it get to the root of the incident.

The only survivor in the family and first daughter of the deceased, Ijeoma, said she ate the suya but did not take the juice.

Ijeoma, who said she did not suffer any ill-health, told newsmen that her father and others that took the suya and fruit drink began to experience “serious stomach pain” shortly after.

“Barely one hour after taking the suya and juice, they started feeling serious stomach pains.

“There was serious commotion in the house as everybody began to roll on the ground, crying for help.

`But after about 30 minutes, there was calm. Everybody seemed to have regained themselves.

“Around 10 p.m., we all retired to sleep. Unfortunately, in the morning, I woke up to see the lifeless bodies of my dad and brothers and the four children on holiday in our house,” Ijeoma said.