Grief and sorrow enveloped yesterday Umuakuru village in Emekuku, Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State following the mysterious death of nine members of a family whose bodies were discovered in their rooms early hours of the day.
The family had buried their 98-year-old mother, Mrs Felicia Njoku on Saturday, July 7 in their country home.
The deceased include Mr. Pascal Njoku, his wife Juliana and their five children, Ebere (first daughter), Ifunanya (second daughter), Chibueze (son) Jackline (third daughter) and Uchechi (last daughter).
Others, who also died along with the Njokus, were Mr. Njoku’s sister, Christina Uba (nee Njoku) and her friend Catherine who accompanied her to the burial.
A family relation who pleaded anonymity told us that with the burial of their mother over and attendant funeral activities completed, the embattled family retired to bed late in the night but could not wake up the following day.
However, fingers were being pointed at a member of the family whom the source said had earlier threatened to deal with the late Njoku and his family over a lingering family problem. Not prepared to take chances over the threat, Njoku’s wife, Juliana reportedly compelled him to relocate herself and their children for safety, but her advice was ignored.
When we visited the deceased’s residence, their corpses were yet to be taken to the mortuary as armed police and soldiers cordoned off the area to prevent possible breakdown of law and order as the youths from the area were sporting for action. An elderly man from the village told Daily Sun that the corpses would not be removed from the compound until certain rituals were performed to appease the gods of the land.
“We have never witnessed this kind of tragedy in our village. I am 90 years of age, this type of calamity had not happened before and something serious must be done to appease the gods.” Another source told us that a pastor, who visited the family last Wednesday before the burial, suffered a spiritual attack and was unable to continue the prayer session.
A woman, who narrated her ordeal to us also, said a day to the burial she defeacated in her dress unknowingly and was rushed to the hospital. Suspicion of the victims’ death from fumes of generating set was dismissed by eyewitness, who said the family had none.