Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Tragedy struck on Monday at Igogoro community, Enugu Ezike in Igboeze North Local Government Area, Enugu State as eight middle-aged men were allegedly suffocated to death inside a septic tank while siphoning water from it.
Chidi Idoko, who lost a brother in the incident, gave the names of five out of the eight victims as Uchechukwu Idoko, Oluchi Eze, Ejike Onu, Omenkeya Eze and Ifeanyi Abugu
An eyewitness, Silas Odo, said that the water in the tank was almost exhausted which made the labourer 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.
“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.
One of the deceased father, Mr. Ossai Eze, said he found it difficult to believe that his 24-year-old son, Oluchi Eze, would not return to home alive again.
Also, another father of one the deceased, Mr. John Onu, said, he had not found enough courage to discuss the tragic death of his son, Ejike Onu.
Confirming the incident, Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, 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 Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State on 22/7/19. It was gathered that a yet-to-be-identified worker at 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, others started going in to offer help but were also said to have been trapped there and became unconscious.
He also said that the Commissioner of Police Suleiman Balarabe, had expressed shock at the incident which he described as unfortunate. According to him, “the police commissioner has directed for a full-scale investigation into the incident just as their bodies have been deposited at the mortuary of General Hospital Ogurute,” he said.