Eight Camerounian refugees have died of generating set fumes in Cross River State. The already decomposing bodies have been deposited in Holy Family Hospital Mortuary in Ikom.
According to eyewitnesses, they were suspected to have been died on Thursday night but were discovered late on Saturday. The deceased were among the over 34,000 refugees who had fled their country to Cross River in Southern Nigeria due to the political crisis in South West Cameroun.
The victims are said to be relatives comprising three women, including a pregnant woman, three children and an adult male found dead in a room. One of the women who lived in the one room self-contained with her three-year old son, accommodated some of her relatives who were just spending the night haven travelled from Danare village to get relief items in Ikom but could not go back as it was late.
Narrating the incident to some newsmen in Calabar yesterday, an witness who gave his name as Ejok John, said: “On Thursday evening because it was raining, they carried their generator inside close to their window because they didn’t want rain to spoil it.
“The generator was on and the fume must have filled the room through the window. None of them woke up from sleep because they inhaled the fumes from the generator”.As fate would have it, the eyewitness said the wife of the man who died in the unfortunate incident escaped the cold hand of death as she was said to have gone back to Danare on the night of the incident.
The Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) of Ikom, Julius Adie, confirmed the incident to The Guardian but ruled out any criminal act or foul play as the room had a burglary proof door and windows.He said the door was locked from inside and there was no sign of forced entry. Also, all their phones were intact when the security agencies broke in to get them out.He stated that the smell from the decomposing bodies alerted people around who got the police and Civil Defence as well as the refugee leaders to force the room open.
Security agencies according to the head of council were investigating the matter to be certain but the refugee leaders have been sending out messages on the ugly incident. Adie, however, advised members of the public to stop keeping generating sets close to their houses because even though they create some comfort, they are killers if used or kept wrongly in a place that is not open and free with air.