Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The death toll of those who have died after consuming the locally brewed gin popularly known as Ogogoro or kai kai has increased to 68 across four local government areas of Rivers state on Thursday, following the death of two victims.
Dr Simeon Ibufubara Manuel of Public Health of Ministry of Health Rivers state, who gave latest update said “As I speak to you now, the latest report we have as at today Thurday June 11 is that 68 persons have died. The affected Local governments are: Obio-Akpor, Bonny, Gokona, Port Harcourt City LGA , and Ahoada West. The number of deaths is spreading faster than anticipated because the brewers of local gin are now introducing, ethanol, methanol and formalin in brewing process which are very dangerous to the body.
Asked why the deaths keep increasing, Dr. Manuel, said perhaps some people have not abstained from drinking ogororo. He noted that Ministry of Health officials have been carrying out campaigns in the rural areas but said that the Local Government Councils and Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers have to step in and continue the enlightenment to reach the local people.
The expert on Public Health lamented that “People are not taking their lives seriously. Despite appeals for the people to suspend the consumption and the ban placed on the sale and consumption of the local gin, by the state and federal Governments those addicted to it refused to drop the habit thereby endangering their lives,” Dr Manuel said.
He also expressed concern that the deaths from the poisonous gin is far higher than Ebola Virus yet people who are addicted to it are reluctant to give up the habit.
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