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Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:39:38 PM

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40 die after deliverance prayer - Family of 3 dies of food poisoning
From Biola Azeez and Johnson Babajide - 16.07.2008

MORE than 40 members of the Deeper Life Church in and around Umuolighe in Alaoma community near Omoba in Isialangwa South Local Government Area of Abia State died mysteriously at the weekend shortly after a family deliverance prayer session.

The incident, which occurred early Saturday morning, came to people’s knowledge on Sunday. Nigerian Tribune gathered that one Mr. Martin Iheukwumere, a zonal coordinator of the Deeper Life Bible Church, had organised the family deliverance in his newly-built house in the community and had invited other church workers and family members.

Sources also said since he built the house, he had not slept there because of alleged spiritual attack, hence his decision to invite church members and relations for the service. It was also learnt that the prayer session, which began at about 11:00 p.m. on Friday, came to an end at about 2:00 a.m. on Saturday before tragedy struck.

According to one of the survivors, Linus Abba, the prayer had just ended when he left for the toilet. He, however, said he lost consciousness and slipped in the toilet and could not remember any other thing until he later became conscious at a nearby community hospital.

A source said that immediately after the prayer session, a mighty wind took over the newly-built house which lifted the people there gathered and tossed them around the building. The source further said that the pandemonium which resulted made them to collapse against another.

It was also gathered that the remains of the dead were infested with maggots while the whole area was taken over by a foul odour. More than 20 persons were said to have lost their lives there and then, while about three people were said to be critically ill and are now at a private hospital where they are receiving treatment.

Speaking during his visit to the area, the acting Commissioner of Police in the state, Ibrahim Maishanu, said autopsy would be conducted on the remains to ascertain the real cause of the deaths.

The traditional ruler of Alaoma, Eze John Onwukwe, described the incident as a disaster to the community, saying that it had been thrown into disarray.

The chairman of the local government area, Chief Anthony Agbazuere, announced the donation of N100,000 for the treatment of the eight survivors now in the hospital.

In another development, tragedy struck at Magongo in Ogori-Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi State, as three members of the same family died after an evening meal on Sunday while the second child and the fourth of the family are currently on admission at the state General Hospital, Okene.

According to sources, the family of one Mr. Iyesi Alikali took yam flour (Amala) food on Sunday evening before going to bed, but shortly after the meal, the mother, Mrs. Beatrice Eripe Alikali, was said to have complained of stomach ache and eventually gave up the ghost.

The father, Mr. Alikali, and his four-year-old daughter, Endurance, were said to have also died after complaining of stomach ache on Monday.

The death of the three people was said to have ignited crisis in the area where the younger brother of the husband, one Mr. Aiyesimi, was fingered to have poisoned the family.

A source from the town said that youths stormed the residence of Aiyesimi on Monday and beat him to stupor before the sister was said to have taken him to an unknown place in Edo State.

The state police spokesman, Mr. Onum Inalegwu, said he had not received any information about the incident.


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