The Rivers State Government has banned the consumption of local gin popularly called Ogogoro as the death toll arising from those who drank the illicit gin and ate dog meat along with it has risen.
Unofficial sources put the death toll at 22 persons.
The incident happened this week in Bonny Island, Bonny, and Woji in Obio Akpor local government areas of the state in southern Nigeria.
The victims were said to have died after consuming dog meat delicacy and local gin popularly called ‘Kai-Kai’ or Ogogoro alleged to contain ethanol.
The Rivers government through the Department of Disease Control said the ban was to prevent more people from consuming the toxic substance.
The Director of Disease Control in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Roland Obed Whyte, expressed concern over the difficulty in getting samples of the local gin that caused the fatalities for thorough clinical analysis because irate youths of Woji had set ablaze the shop of Friday Dickson, a.k.a Etiaba where the suspected toxic gin was bought and consumed.
Dr. Whyte said health officials from the ministry have been despatched to Woji for house-to-house enlightenment on dangers inherent in the consumption of highly toxic local gin.
He also said that preliminary findings revealed that some symptoms found in the affected victims include vomiting and blindness.
It was also learnt that another challenge facing the state Ministry of Health is that some of the remains of the deceased were buried without autopsy, making further medical examinations herculean.
In Bonny Island, Simon Wilcox, a youth leader and spokesman for Bonny kingdom confirmed on Wednesday the death of 17 persons after the consumption of the toxic local brew.
“As I speak with you 17 persons have been confirmed dead.We are going to the hospital to attend to those who are lying critically ill. We need the help of World Health Organization, WHO, Federal and Government agencies to assist people of Bonny kingdom,” Wilcox said.