Onitsha - The mysterious death of three persons in a well located at No. 1, Hanik Street, at the Trans Nkisi Federal Housing, 33, Onitsha, has re-ignited the call for the completion of the Greater Onitsha Water Scheme.
The three corpses were recovered on Tuesday after a native doctor was invited to perform some rituals.
Professor Peter Katchy, the Director of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), described the situation as "chaotic and complicated".
"We don’t know the cause of their deaths yet, whether or not it is a gaseous substance that killed them.
"That place does not look like a manual well or borehole. So, we call for more investigation to unravel the mystery," Katchy said.
On his part, a resident of the area, Raymond Uzoma, blamed the mysterious deaths on the absence of potable water.
"I have lived in this area for the past 29 years; let government stop the drilling of borehole and complete the Greater Onitsha Water Scheme.
"We have recorded similar mysterious situations in private boreholes dug in the area.
"We are begging that Governor Willie Obiano gives us the Greater Onitsha Water Scheme so that people will stop digging holes everywhere in search of water," Uzoma said.
Police presence was noticed at the scene, but the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in-charge of '33' Police Station, Indyar Apev, a Superintendent of Police (SP), declined to comment on the issue.
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Apev however, said: "The corpses of the three victims have been recovered from the well," he said, adding that he had "briefed higher authorities for appropriate action."
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Nkeiru Nwodu, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said she could not could not confirm the incident as she was in a meeting.
The first victim, simply identified as James, 34, was contacted three months ago to further dig the well in search of water.
The eyewitness said late James slipped-off into the well at about 10 a.m. on Monday but could not be rescued as at 6 p.m. when his relation, identified as Usai, 32, arrived to make efforts.
The source said Usai’s attempt to rescue his brother also failed as he did not make it out of the mysterious well.
The eyewitness said a third person, whose name was unknown also volunteered to go into the well with a rope tied around his waist but quickly came out of the well with bruises and swellings on the face.
"The third boy said he saw hands slapping and boxing him from different angles, making him to withdraw for his dear life," the source said.
Efforts by an unidentified fourth person, who demanded N100, 000 to remove the other two victims, were futile as he also did not make it out of the well alive.
"He had claimed to have black powers (juju) and even refused to have a rope tied around his waist before entering into the well," another eyewitness revealed.
Hopes of recovering the three bodies came alive only when a native doctor was invited to carry out some incantations and spiritual cleansing.
It was further gathered that a cock and a ram were brought to the native doctor.
According to the source, only the cock was dipped into the borehole and brought out alive, signifying that no more human death would occur during the recovery process.