The Imo state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Obi Njoku has ordered for autopsies on seven members of a family and their two in-laws, who died in Emekuku, near Owerri, on Sunday.
Njoku said at a news conference in the eastern Nigerian city of Owerri on Monday that the cause of the deaths of the family members had yet to be determined but stressed that the deaths were not natural.
He, however, advised the people to remain calm till the results of the analyses were released.
The commissioner said he had set up a five-member committee headed by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Johnny Ihebereme, who would liaise with Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, to conduct the autopsies to determine the actual cause of the deaths.
Responding, Ihebereme said the committee would liaise with FMC, Owerri, to conduct a thorough investigation, adding that the food remnant in the deceased persons’ house and also look into the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The family of nine died in their sleep under mysterious circumstances on Saturday night after the burial of their mother/Grandmother in Umuakuru village, Emekuku, Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State
Those who died …were Mr. Paschal Njoku, who until his death, lived in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and whose mother his family came to bury, his wife, five children; Ebere, Ifunanya, Chibueze, Jackline and Uchechi and two other relations..
The nine were found dead with foam-like substances in their mouths yesterday morning.
Family sources said the bodies of the deceased were discovered when the owners of the canopies used at the funeral came to dismantle them in the morning. The owners of the canopies had gone to the house of the deceased to inform them that they had come to move their canopies. But none of the family members responded to their greetings or the knocks on their doors. The pervasive silence around the deceased house aroused the curiosity of the people, leading them to force open one of the doors in the compoundPascal Njoku, his wife and five children as well as their two in-laws died on Sunday after the burial of Njoku’s mother on Saturday.