By CHINYERE Ogbonna: Ondo State Commissioner for Health – Dr. Dayo Adeyanju says that the strange ailment that broke out in Ode-Irele a remote community in the Southern part of Ondo state, south-west Nigeria might have been as a result of the victims’ consumption of a local alcohol.
Dr. Adeyanju stated this in Alausa in the state while briefing reporters on development on the ailment. He added that preliminary reports of tests carried out revealed that it was not a viral disease after all The Commissioner further stated that the result of the toxicology to confirm the statement was still being expected from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, South West Nigeria.
The ailment starts with a headache, blindness and eventually leads to death within a few hours it attacks its victim.
However, the deaths were earlier attributed to the action of six boys who broke into the shrine of Molokun, the deity of the people and desecrated it by stealing artefacts and sacred objects.
Shout Africa correspondent gathered that the potency of the god of the community was tested when the thieves unveiled the “Agogo Ide”, one of the sacred objects in the shrine covered with white apron. Reports say that even the worshipers and traditionalists in charge of the shrine do not look at the sacred object with naked eyes.
“The Agogo Ide has never been seen by anybody but those who broke into the shrine unveiled the sacred object and this is an abomination hence the deaths in the community,” the source said.
“Until the god is appeased, the deaths will continue but the chief priest and traditionalists have consulted and asked women to appease the Malokun by pouring buckets of water in front of the shrine.”
There are indications that the boys underrated the god of the land and, like lightening, it struck, leaving many persons dead. The thieves reportedly moved the sacred objects from the shrine and sold them to a man who resold it to some foreigners.
There are also reports that the Malokun shrine was broken into by the boys after they had protected themselves through the help of a herbalist outside the community.
About thirty people, between ages 25 and 40 have died since died horrible deaths since the outbreak. Those who died as a result of the alleged abomination were said to have been initially afflicted with blindness, elongation of tongues and unconsciousness.
The news of the desecration of the shrine was said to have been relayed to the traditional ruler of the town who invited the chief priest and other traditionalists to conduct a fact-finding visit to the shrine.
The breakage into the shrine was said to have been the first of its kind in the history of the community. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has sent representatives to the community and WHO have said that the deaths were as a result a weed killer.