Five persons have been confirmed dead from methanol poisoning in a local gin sold by one Uwadiegu Eze, a native of Umunakara community, in the Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to indigenes of the community, trouble started when residents, who patronised the gin shop on Tuesday, November 14, to Friday, November 17, started having body stiffness and partial blindness which culminated in deaths.
Punch correspondents gathered that the shop owner, Eze, fled after he was informed that consumers of his product were dying. On getting information of the deaths, the Imo State Ministry of Health sent a team headed by the Director of Centre for Disease Control, Dr . Okeji A., to the community.
Upon sighting the ambulance of the state Ministry of Health, many youths, believed to be from Umunakara community and other adjoining villages who reportedly drank the local gin, queued up in their numbers, waiting to be taken to Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Okeji lamented that despite the 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.
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.
A former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in the state, Toe Ekechi, who is an indigene of the community, commended the prompt response of the state health officials.
He said security operatives were already on the trail of the owner of the gin shop.
Meanwhile, when eight other victims was on Saturday rushed to Uchenna Clinic, a private clinic in Owerri. According to the Chief Medical Consultant of the clinic, Dr Ezimefula Andrew, he said 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.
The Nigeria-Morocco Businesswomen Summit has made the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, her Global Grant Patron in recognition of her commitment to uplifting the living standard of women and children.
She was decorated during the maiden edition of the Nigeria-Morocco Businesswomen Summit in Marrakech, Morocco on Wednesday 15th November, 2017
A statement issued on Sunday by Suleiman Haruna, Director of Information to Wife of the President, said Mrs Buhari was represented at the event by Mrs Gimbiya Dogara, wife of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In her acceptance speech, Mrs Buhari said her passion for improving the lives of women and children is the reason she organizes medical outreach programmes, skill acquisition sessions, women empowerment programmes as well as advocacy for the rights of women and the girl child.
These initiatives, according to her, are the contributions she is making to ensure that the future of women and children is assured; and that was why she named her pet project Future Assured.
Mrs Buhari while speaking at the summit, said it provides an opportunity for businesswomen from the two countries to take advantage of opportunities. She enjoined women to support each other and add to the economic development of their countries.
The Akwa Ibom state government has signed a partnership agreement for the cultivation of bamboo in the state with the President, World Bamboo Organization, Michael Abadie. The event took place at the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo on Friday.
The governor, before signing the partnership agreement, had told his guests that the cardinal objective of his administration is to create wealth and bring prosperity to the people.
Governor Emmanuel said different species of bamboo exist in the state and asked the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Dr Uduak Charles Udoinyang to make them available for the experts to test and choose the recommended.
He said with arable land, adequate rainfall and suitable climate, the state is poised for bamboo cultivation in commercial quantity and called for support from the United Nations.
"Please help us talk to the United Nations, we have interest in developing a complete value chain. I don’t mind, I will put a pen to the paper to sign our initial agreement in front of the pressmen. Talk to the UN that we have everything it takes to feed the world with bamboo and all its auxiliary products”
The Governor promised to provide 1,000 hectares of land against the 600 hectares requested by 7 Star Bamboo Manufacturing Company Limited, for the cultivation of bamboo. Appealing further, he said,“I want to believe please, you will try and let us benefit from the United Nations funding for this without asking me for counterpart funding”.
Emmanuel thanked the visiting team for considering Akwa Ibom worthy of the collaboration and described the situation as divine. He expressed appreciation to his guests for the invitation to the World Bamboo Conference in Mexico, August next year, and indicated his willingness to speak at the Conference.
Speaking earlier, the President, World Bamboo Organization, Michael Abadie, had expressed pleasure to share in the willingness of Governor Emmanuel to develop bamboo in the state.
Abadie who described bamboo as not being an ordinary plant stated that the commitment of the Governor to bamboo cultivation will be a legacy in the future and invited him to a conference in Mexico next year for being the first Governor in Africa to sign such partnership agreement.
The signing of the partnership agreement was also witnessed by the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Etekamba Umoren, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Charles Udoh, and other top government functionaries.