No fewer than seven persons were on Tuesday evening feared killed in Umuzu Mbana, Otolo Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra state under mysterious circumstance as a result of chemical emission attributed to burning lignite.
It was gathered that lignite sends out gas with irritating sulphurous odour which allegedly led to the admission of scores of persons at different hospitals in the area.
President General of the community, Tony Afam Muodielo, who spoke to our reporter, lamented the devastating effect of the dangerous chemical discovered at a site in the community sometimes in March.
He regretted that the state government had not done much to save the people from the killer chemical, adding that “a new dimension to the problem was the smoke from the site that enveloped the entire community with very offensive and irritating odour that subjected residents to suffocation every evening.
“The emission has recently become more damaging and escalating. Surroundings of the chemical site are caving in and the emission becomes stronger. We have tried to put out the fire burning underground to no avail and we decided to leave the rains to deal with it.
“But despite the heavy rains so far experienced this year, the fire keeps on raging from the ground as if the rains are fuelling it and produces thick smokes.
“Last night, after a little rain, we were unable to sleep. The most astonishing thing is that we have been recording sudden deaths in recent time,” he lamented.
Muodielo further revealed that the incident was first discovered in December 2017 at the community’s stream site called Oduga which suddenly dried up and in its stead, fire began to burn at the site, underground.
He said that youths of the area had been deployed on several occasion to put out the fire but could not.
“A team of geologists from Chukwuemena Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli, Anambra state had visited the site and discovered that there was a dangerous chemical deposited at the site with the recommendations that government should, as a matter of urgency, quench the fire to save the community from further exposure to the dangerous chemical”, he further lamented.
He said it had been recommended that residents should be taking liquid milk every day to douse the effects of the chemical emissions.