20 November 2017
By Chidiebere Ejike
At least five persons have been reported dead from methanol poisoning after consuming local gin sold by one Uwadiegu Eze, a native of Umunakara community, in the Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State.
The dead victims were identified as: Daniel Nwosu Jnr. (Male, 45); Friday Osuji (Male, 70); Ifeanyi Njoku (Male, 31), Mrs. Adanna Iheanacho (Female, 60) and one Benjamin Okoroafor.
It was gathered that trouble started when residents, who patronized the gin shop on Tuesday, November 14, to Friday, November 17, started having body stiffness and partial blindness which culminated in deaths.
Celebral Lemon also gathered that the shop owner, Eze, fled when he learnt that consumers of his product were dying.
The Imo State Ministry of Health, on getting information of the deaths sent a team headed by the Director of Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Okeji A., to the community.
Many youths, believed to be from Umunakara community and other adjoining villages who reportedly drank the local gin, upon sighting the ambulance of the state Ministry of Health, queued up in their numbers, waiting to be taken to Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Okeji lamented that despite several episodes of methanol poisoning arising from local gin consumption in various parts of the country, people still patronised distillers who used methanol to boost production of the gin in order to increase their profits.
Toe Ekechi, a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, who is an indigene of the community, commended the prompt response of the state health officials noting that security operatives were already on the trail of the owner of the gin shop.
Meanwhile, Cerebral Lemon learnt that eight other victims were on Saturday rushed to Uchenna Clinic, a private clinic in Owerri where the Chief Medical Consultant of the clinic, Dr. Ezimefula Andrew, confirmed that one of the eight victims transferred from St Augustine’s Hospital, Ulakwo to the clinic, was already blind, while the others were in other stages of methanol poisoning.