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House of horror: Silence grips home of Ngor Okpala poison victims



The house of the victims of the food poison in Egbelu, Nguru Umuowa community in Ngor Okpala was almost scary; the silence around the house was frightening as even fowls in the compound felt the impact of the cold hands of death.  Our reporter,  who visited the deserted house said that it took the courage of a journalist to come close to the house where the meal that wiped out the family of eight stood above.

Few villagers who walked across the compound took a conscious glance at the home of the Nwosus as if to say, “Woe betides this house”.  Only the bush and the flowers in front gave a sign of life as every other thing was abandoned in the bid to take care of the inmates who eventually lost their lives.

Narrating the story, Chief Linus Eke, Chairman of the village and a representative of HRH Eze A.A. Unanka, the Eze Udo I of Nguru/Umuowa autonomous community said that the deceased died at intervals.  He explained that three of the girls gave up the ghost on Thursday morning in their church – the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Nguru where Gladys their mother had taken them to for spiritual rejuvenation as against the discomfort they felt after what was supposed to be their usual supper.  “When I got the news on Thursday afternoon, I rushed to the church where I met a confused looking Gladys.  She started informing me about the horrible situation of her daughters which made her seek for spiritual help in their church.  It was Gladys, the chief noted, who prepared the meal and the ugba.  She later informed me that the ugba had been in her custody for many years”,

The scenario according to Chief Linus took a different dimension on Friday at the General Hospital Umuneke where Gladys had sought for medical attention for the rest of the victims.  But it was that day he said, that Gladys and the youngest daughter about four years old died.

Sad enough the remaining two daughters, he continued, died on Saturday and Sunday respectively at Federal Medical Centre Owerri where they were admitted for proper medical attention.

The Chairman of Egbelu village further clarified that Osinachi Iwuala the only male among the victims and a visitor to the family, who also participated in the meal died at St. Augustine’s Hospital Ulakwo where his father had rushed him for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, different rumours have been making round the village and beyond regarding the  exact cause of the  Nwosu tragedy.  Some of the villagers in their low voices were saying that some devilish-minded persons amongst them might have masterminded their death.  This they believed could be perfected through orthodox means.

Others insinuated that such inexplicable death could occur in a situation where family members are not living in harmony with others.  They speculate that someone not far from the family might have poisoned their food, with the intention of wiping away the entire family so as to inherit their possessions.

Some even imagine that the gods are angry and perhaps have struck.

The deserted home of the poison victims

The deserted home of the poison victims

Giving more insight to the incident, Dr. Desmond Ohanenye, a resident doctor at the General Hospital Ngor-Okpala where the bodies have been deposited said Gladys and her little daughter developed what he called a muscle twitching with the manifestation of fever, hypertension, vomiting and stooling.  He stated that their situation was a clinical picture of gastro-enteritis which diagnosed as food poison.  A cursory look at the situational background of the deaths, the doctor continued, “the impression of food poison should not be debunked”.  He requested that their case calls for an enquiry into some rodents or any household animal which he believed must have tasted and infected the food without the knowledge of the deceased.

However, Dr. Ohanenye advised that autopsy should not be used as a terminus of investigation.  He advised that, a forensic examination of the family house and on the said oil bean be carried out in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the incident.

Meanwhile, the Divisional Police Headquarters of Ngor-Okpala, has begun investigation into the matter and the cause of the tragedy is still at the time of filing this report a matter of conjecture.



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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