Authorities investigate claims of mysterious deaths in Bonny

Authorities investigate claims of mysterious deaths in Bonny

Sunday, May 24, 2020 3:53 pm


Residents of Bonny feasting on dead Whale ashore Bonny Island.

… Bonny Council launches investigations, dismisses link of deaths to Covid-19 or eating of dead fishes/ Whale.
Okafor Ofiebor/ Port-Harcourt
Just like in some other parts of the country in recent times there have been reports and outcries of mysterious deaths and sickness in the Bonny area of Rivers State.
Information available to this magazine indicated that while there have been cases of claims of mysterious deaths in the different communities in the area, hundreds sick persons are besieging various hospitals and healthcare centres in Bonny.
Unconfirmed reports have it that not less than 12 persons have died displaying similar symptoms like inability to taste, smell, high fever and others which are associated with Covid-19.
The mysterious deaths have also been linked to the consumption of  dead shoals of fish and a massive dead whale which appeared in the shoreline of Bonny by the residents about a month ago.
Shoals of dead fishes were washed ashore along Finima coastline while a dead whale was discovered at the Agaja Seashore off the Coast of Finima. There were fears that residents of the city may have been be exposed to food poisoning from consumption of the  dead aquatic animals.
 
Outcries about the so called mysterious deaths have led to the launching of probe by the Bonny local government authority.
While giving results of the probe in a statement, Omoni LongJohn, Secretary of Bonny Local Government and  Pafuro Tolofari, the Supervisor for Health said “following the recent social media report of alleged persons with loss of sense of smell and taste, malaria and typhoid fever, and high level of deaths, the Bonny Local Government quickly swung into action to investigate and ascertain the truth of the whole panic.
“A team headed by the Secretary to the Local Government Omoni LongJohn, the supervisor of Health, the Covid19 Team, and the Media team, together with Representatives from the Primary Health went to all the Health Facilities in the Island both privately owned and Government owned, including major Pharmacies and laboratories.
“Head Doctors on duty, as well as the managers were interviewed, and recorded and following facts were ascertained.
“There has been an increase in drugs resistance malaria in the past two weeks on the Island. There are also increase in the cases of typhoid fever in the said period.
“About 50% of the patients also complain of dizziness, bitterness in the mouth, lack of a sense of taste and smell.
“There are some few patients with complains of only loss of sense of taste and smell.
“The resistance to normal malaria drugs results in patients returning almost immediately with the same symptoms complain. This treatment shows 100% improvement in the health of the patients.
“Also, Patients with loss of taste and smell are given allergy drugs, and they report improvement, as majority of them do not show symptoms of cough and catarrh.
“There have been no deaths as a result of these illnesses in any of the hospitals/Clinics on the Island in the past one month.
“There has been less than 6 in-patient deaths in all the hospital/clinics on the Island in the past two weeks and they all have chronic medical history.
“There are cases of about 6 cases of dead patients brought to the hospital/clinics for confirmation. They also have compromised health situations before hand, on inquiry to their families by the doctors.”
The Local Government also said rumours of mysterious deaths may not be too far from the fact that the mortuaries are filled as a result of the ban on Public Burial in the state, resulting in bereaved families making calls to all and sundry informing them of the plan to bury their deceased loved ones almost immediately.
The Council further said,” The contaminated Bonny air/atmosphere have a lot to do with the sudden loss of sense of smell, and further investigation shall be done to ascertain the actual level of the toxicity of the air we breath in Bonny, hence the use of facemask is crucial.
“There is the high need for Bonny residents to take the first line of responsibility for their personal health by cleaning and clearing their drainages and environment, and use mosquito treated nets for sleeping.
“There is high need to practice personal hygiene at all times and observe WHO public health requirements, especially Social Distancing in Bonny Kingdom and wearing of facemasks.
“Persons with the above symptoms should immediately report to the nearest health facility as self medication is highly discouraged. Individuals should eat balanced nutrition and practice regular exercises.
The Local Government promised to continue to work with the King and Natural Ruler, as well as the Bonny Chiefs Council to ensure a safe and healthy society.
The Local Government said the investigation were carried out in Bonny General Hospital, Delta Specialist Hospital, Channel Consultant Clinic, Pan-OJ, Island Medicals Diagnostic and Aliied Services, St. Peters Clinic, Mephar Global Pharmacy and St. Charles Surgery.
Meanwhile,in Statement issued on behalf of Engr. David Rogers Irimagha, Executive Chairman Of Bonny Local Government Council
informed the residents that public concerns and expression of discomfort over the sudden prevalence of malaria and typhoid, loss of taste and smells etc, on the Island have attracted government’s urgent attention.
“As a responsible government we use this medium to inform the citizens that government is thoroughly investigating the issue as well as other related concerns and in due time it will relate same to the public.
“However, it is advisable to observe all safety and hygienic measures at this period, and be rest assured that government is on top of the matter and will provide a positive solution to this effect.”
Speaking further, he dismissed the public fear that the sudden deaths may be linked to the contraction of Covid-19 or the massive consumption of dead Fishes that were sudden seen ashore of Bonny Waters about a month ago as investigations are on.
At the time of filing this report the Rivers State government had not reacted to the mysterious deaths in Bonny.
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