Tragedy struck in the early hours of yesterday as the lifeless bodies of a family of seven and that of a pregnant woman were discovered in their one room apartment in Lagos.
The incident, which took place at No. 19, Olowora Street, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos threw the whole area into confusion and mourning.
The bodies were discovered by a neighbour, who broke the door to enter the apartment after noticing that no member of the family had been seen that morning.
Following the discovery, police officers from the Makinde police station were alerted and the bodies evacuated.
There are speculations as to the actual cause of death. While many ascribed it to food poisoning, some neighbours, however, maintained it was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning as the room was saturated with fumes when the door was broken.
According to a neighbour, who identified the deceased husband and wife as Owojobi and Aminat Sakari, the couple retired for the night with their children and the pregnant guest, Wasilat, after putting on a generating set stationed behind their window.
The man, who refused to disclose his name, said the deceased, a Muslim, usually woke up daily to say his morning prayers at 4.30 am but that after he was not seen at 8pm, they became worried.
“After knocking several times on his door and there was no response, I called the attention of other neighbours because it was unusual. After other neighbours also knocked and there was still no response, we decided to break down the door. We were shocked to discover some of them dead and some still breathing, and we rushed them to the hospital. We then went to report at Makinde police station,” he said.
The landlord’s son, who also spoke under anonymity, described the incident as unfortunate, adding that his late father vehemently opposed the use of generator in the compound.
He noted that it was after his father’s death in 2017 that the neighbours started using generators in the compound. He disclosed that when they broke into the tenant’s room that they discovered the smell of generator fumes, which had entered through the window.
“There was a split air conditioner beside the big generating set and a big water container. There was nowhere for the fumes to escape to. We believe that was what killed them,” the landlord’s son said.
Speaking on the incident, the state police public relations officer, Bala Elkana, disclosed that a member of the family was still alive and was admitted at the intensive unit of an undisclosed hospital.
Elkana said they suspect sniper poisoning. He disclosed that on arrival at the scene of the incident, policemen noticed the pungent smell of sniper hanging thickly in the air, adding that a pot of rice, which the family ate from the previous night, had been taken for toxicological test. He said it was discovered that two neighbours that also ate from the pot of rice were hale and hearty,
The bodies, he disclosed, would undergo autopsy to determine the actual cause of death.
Meanwhile, the building has been sealed by health officials from the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area. An official, who refused to be named, disclosed that pending when investigations are concluded, the house would remain sealed. He also said residents of the building have been warned to evacuate pending the outcome of their findings.