16 people including a community leader have been hospitalized in Plateau State after drinking gruel made from poisoned grains.
The poisoned grains “ignorantly” bought by a local petty trader from a local market last Tuesday were used to make the gruel sold on Friday in Jol village of Riyom Local Government Area.
“Those we identified including a child of the woman who sold the gruel had bloody stooling, diarrhea and serious stomach pains,” said Mr. Tim Danchal, the Chairman, Jol Community Development Association.
Some of the patients, Mr. Danchal said fainted several times before being rushed to hospital.
One of those who took the drink, Mr. Victor Dalyop said his son, Christopher and mother, Martha equally fell down with the symptoms after taking the drink.
Mr. Stephen Jugu, the Community Leader of Jol village, said he was yet to fully recover, when contacted on Sunday.
Jugu who is also the Secretary, COCIN Local Church Council Jol feared many more people from other communities may have also drank the gruel.
Mrs. Hudung Samuel, a caterer who went to the village to supply food for a wedding ceremony said two of her staff were affected.
The grains, bought from neighboring Makera market, are believed to have also been sold to people, likely stocking for Christmas, in Bachi, Hoss, Sho and other villages in the Local Government as well as Vom, Kuru, Anguldi and Kugiya Communities in Jos South LGA.
Locals fear the grains may have been deliberately poisoned and sold to the natives.
A Chief in Riyom, who wouldn’t want to be named said, “New millet and guinea corn is not out yet. And even if it is, will it be stored with chemicals so soon? And if it is old one that may have been stored since the last harvest season, will the chemicals still be active at this time?”
Mr. Livinus Miskoom, the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer of Riyom LGA, however said, the trader who sold the grains had been traced and confirmed to have applied storage chemicals to the grains.
“The trader thought they bought the grains to store, not knowing they were going to consume them but we have restrained him from further selling the grains,” said Mr. Miskoom.
He however did not reveal the status of investigation on the incident, but said he had sent reports to World Health Organization and State Ministry of Health.
Efforts to reach the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkom Ndam proved abortive as he appeared to be busy organizing covid-19 teams for the 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture holding in Jos.