More than 2,000 people besieged the premises of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, after a story spread in the city last Wednesday that water, which had healing powers, was flowing from a Neem tree close to the Christian chapel on the campus. The news which hit the city about 10am attracted students, staff of the institution and villagers from Ihiagwa, Eziobodo and other communities surrounding the university, who thronged the premises and struggling to scoop up the supposed ‘miracle water’ for healing purposes.
Expectedly, the sudden invasion of the campus by a mass of people, who obviously were not students, attracted the attention of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Chigozie Asiabaka as Sunday Sun learnt. The army of miracle water seekers came with jerry cans to fetch the water, which they believed could heal any sickness. Many chose to bath with it fully clothed and even drank some of the water in the belief that it would bring them good luck.
A man, Innocent Eke, who witnessed the spectacle told Sunday Sun: “Around 10am on Wednesday, students and members of staff of the institution were seen rushing to the site where water was coming out from an old tree opposite the All Saint’s Chapel, FUTO.Most of the students climbed on top of the tree to fetch the water as they believed it was a sign from God.” Another eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “We saw the water coming out of the tree with full force as if it was being pumped and we all rushed to fetch the water because we believe it was from God.”
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But an environmentalist in the institution, Kenneth Aniebo debunked the claims, saying, “It is not a miracle as people claimed, though it came as a surprise when water started running from the tree.” However, he pointed out that later when the reservoir that supplies water to some parts of the university was switched off, the water stopped running. “So when we noticed this, we went back to switch on the reservoir and the water started gushing out from the tree again,” he said.
He advised people seeking for miracle water to desist from drinking the water as “it may contain some chemical substances which may be injurious to their health. He said the water was not safe for drinking. We are looking for a way to destroy the tree.” However, as he was speaking, the crowd scolded the environmentalist, saying that the water was actually “special water” from a higher being. Miffed by the development, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Francis Eze described the situation as unfortunate.
“There is no miracle water. It is just lack of understanding. The tree was sitting on the pipeline, which may have ruptured. So when we pump water, it would start flowing from the tree. Honestly I don’t know how people could believe such a thing. It is not miracle water,” Eze said.
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