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Plateau community suffer food poisoning allegedly gotten from looted palliatives

NEWSMAN , Abuja -At least 20 people have suffered food poisoning in Joi, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State after taking Kunu, a local drink made from millet.

It was gathered that the millet were bought from a petty trader in the community’s market last Tuesday.

Some of the patients including a community leader, Stephen Jugu, were treated for food poisoning over the weekend.

Jugu, who is also the Secretary of the COCIN Local Church Council, confirmed that himself and not less than 20 others were affected by the drink.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and discovered that it was diarrhoea that was disturbing me. I discovered that it was because of the Kunu I took. Later on, I learnt that it was the same thing with other people. They were more than twenty people but they have been discharged.”

The community leader, who confirmed that all the affected persons have been discharged, said the issue was reported to the chairperson of the development association

“They went and bought millet and corn from a local store. Then, when one of the ladies prepared the local drink, friends and families who drank out of the Kunu had a running stomach. Some of them fainted, passed out blood. They were admitted at the local hospital and treated,” Tim Danchal, the Chairman, Jol Community Development Association said.

Danchal added that the case has been reported to the local government authorities for investigation and contact-tracing.

“I spoke to the director of health at the local government who sent an officer to the community on Saturday. We are following up on that to do contact tracing if the local government will send in staff to talk to these people and if possible the woman who sold the grains is located.”

He feared that many more persons from other communities may have also drunk from the same source or bought the contaminated millet.

However, Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer in the local government, Livinus Miskoom, said the trader had been traced and confirmed to have applied storage chemicals to the grains.

According to him, the figures provided by the community leader were exaggerated as only four persons were admitted.

“There were only four people when I went there and they have been treated.”

“You know recently people broke warehouses to steal palliatives. They warned that people should not buy it. People went and bought it and took and they started having stomach pain.

”It could be one of the suspects. Because the woman said she bought it from the market. I’m suspecting that it is some of the people that stole palliatives. You know everybody needs money now,” the health officer said.

He, however, did not reveal the status of investigation on the incident, but said he had sent reports to the World Health Organization and State Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, when contacted, the State Commissioner for Health, Nimkom Ndam, said he has not been briefed on the situation by the medical director at the local government level, PREMIUM TIMES reported.

Secretary to the government of the state, Danladi Atu, had in October warned against the consumption of looted food items.

He warned members of the public from consuming some of the looted food items because they are dangerous for human consumption as they have been chemically treated for preservation.

As of October 26, 2020, some of the looted and vandalised properties include: SEMA Warehouse (Old Nitel Bukuru), PRUWASSA, PADP (Dogon Dutse, Jos), Mineral Museum (Angul D, Bukuru), ASTC Vom, Plateau Publishing Company, SUBEB (Dogon Dutse), Government Technical College Bukuru, Ryom local government secretariat, School of Home Economics Vom, Jos Foods, Jos Trade Fair (Polo), and the private residence of federal lawmaker Yakubu Dogara.

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