A traditional wedding has turned tragic at Umuobajiaku Umuomumu Umueze Mberi autonomous community in Mbailtoli Local Government Area of Imo State as 10 persons who attended the ceremony died from generator fumes.
22 others are still lying unconscious at the Ikeduru General Hospital while some of the survivors were said to have been rushed to Nwaorieubi General Hospital in Mbailtoli.
It was gathered that the victims who are from Ezifite in Anambra State were the relatives of the groom, Mr. Ifenayi, who had come to witness his traditional wedding to Miss Favour Uzoegbu, an indigene of the community.
The new couple, who are based in Aba, Abia State, had returned to their base after their traditional wedding ceremony.
However, it was learnt that after the traditional wedding, the relatives of the groom numbering 30, including two little twins, decided to pass the night as it was already late for them to return to Anambra. They all slept in one room in an uncompleted building while the generator was placed at the passage.
It was gathered that the generator was on for over 12 hours.
It was also discovered that four persons had already died inside the building before the door was forced open.
Chief Martins Ezuruike Ezeruo, an indigene of the community, said he saw about 20 victims being evacuated from the building by a team of policemen, who had been alerted by members of the community.
He said that the lifeless bodies were discovered inside the building when people forced the doors open and were taken to hospitals in Ikeduru and Nwaorubi.
Ezeruo further revealed that a small generator was taken inside the building and was on for about 12 hours, which caused the death of the people.
He described what happened as unfortunate and blamed it on the carelessness of placing the generator at the passage of the building.
Also, an indigene of the community, who do not want to be quoted, said that the owner of the house, who happened to be a relation of the bride, died less than two years ago and has not been buried.
He disclosed that the wife to the owner of the uncompleted building had initially refused to release the key to the building, and told the people that if they insist on using the building that whatever happens to them is their business.
The administrator of Ikeduru Hospital, Dr.Austin Agbahiwe, confirmed to newsmen that 17 survivors who were unconscious were brought to the hospital, while 3 died on arrival
He said that the 17 persons were responding to treatment.
Agbahiwe said that the victims had inhaled carbon monoxide from the generator, which affected their system.
Confirming the incident, the spokesperson of the Imo State Police Command, Mr. Orlando Ikokwu, said that a team of policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Godwin Udom, arrived the scene and evacuated the victims to the hospital, where it was discovered that six had already given up the ghost, with about 23 people unconscious.
He further disclosed that the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Rubiu Ladodo, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the incident with a view to unraveling the misery behind the tragedy.