A few days ago, the community of Kabba in Kogi was rudely awakened to the rude death of four youths, all male and fresh graduates of the Kogi State Polytechnic. They died in the cause of trying to sink a well. SAM EGWU was at the community where the young men hailed from to unearth the truth about various stories making the round about the cause of their sudden death. His story
Anguish, pain and sorrow are words to describe the mood in Iyah, a suburb community tucked a few metres away from Kabba, in Kogi State as four young men lost their lives following an incident the residents described as mysterious and unfortunate.
The tragedy occurred on Monday April 1, in Kabba, headquarters Kabba/ Bunu local government area of Kogi State when four HND graduates of the Kogi State polytechnic, Lokoja who specialized in digging wells sank into the well they had earlier dug.
The deceased names were given as David Sajo, Sunday Olaniya, Ayo and Ogbekedo who were from the same parents.
After the completion of the 25-metre deep well which took two weeks, the owner Mrs Agnes Baiyere a primary school headmistress had complained to David that water did not immediately come out and there was a need to clear debris which had caved into the well.
It was gathered that as water started coming out for use, Agnes thought it would affect the purity of the water so they had to enter and clear out the debris.
David was the first to answer the call, since he was the principal contractor who invited the rest. When David entered, it was learnt, he was not responding, he became dizzy, his friend noticed he was not responding and decided to jump in to assist him, the same occurrence took place with the third person, it was gathered that against all persuasions, the fourth went inside and met his death.
Despite persuasions against his wanting to enter the already dug well, he was said to have insisted that he had to go into the well and rescue his three colleagues.
It became too obvious to onlookers that something was in the offing. The death of the young graduates who eked out their living from the job of digging well for a price, to sustain their academic pursuit was very painful.
The mourners and sympathisers in the town described the deceased as very hardworking. They expressed sadness that they died at the time they would have enjoyed the fruits of their labour.
One of the mourners, Gabriel Femi, told our correspondent in Kabba that the town where all these boys were from wore a sombre look as all shops, kiosks and commercial activities were locked down and social life shut while people were seen in groups discussing in hushed tones the calamity that had befallen the community.
The community ignited into a gale of profuse hues and cries as both young and old broke down and wept uncontrollably with some reigning curses on the owner of the well as an ambulance brought the corpses of the ebullient youths to the community for prayers in preparation for their final journey to eternity.
Moses Akaba, who spoke with our correspondent said the staff of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Kabba office who were contacted raced to the scene with their ladder to help evacuate the bodies of the deceased persons from the well.
Further investigations revealed that, Mrs Agnes attempted several times to dig the well for her comfort in the four-bedroom flat which she lives but her efforts were in vain because most people she contracted to do the project usually turned their backs after a couple of days.
Even the professional well sinkers were reported to have always declined the offer.
Unknown to the four unfortunate graduates, they took up the offer as they were to be paid some fee.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that Mrs Agnes Baiyere who contracted the desceased to dig a well in the front of her newly constructed four-bedroom apartment had not been able to stay around the house. Agnes has been confused and rushed to an unknown destination for proper care, as she fears that the demonstration by youths in the community indicates they are poised for war. All attempts by our correspondent to talk to the parents of the deceased met brick walls.
However, when our correspondent visited on Wednesday, he sought to know the cause of the deaths.
Chief Ojo Olajide, a community leader in Kabba, said the cause of deaths might be connected with the failure to appease the god of Ohe river which is very close to the scene of the incident.
Ojo said, “The traditional people in the time past used to separate a day when they offered every kind of things (as may be demanded) to the god on a yearly basis.”
He, however, regretted that for quite some time now, nothing of such had been done. “The gods are angry, we must not tell ourselves lies,” he thundered.
He said the god of the river might be angry for this negligence even as he said the same thing happened three years ago when four people were swept away and some houses submerged around the same area by a seemingly innocuous rain.
He disclosed that the traditional ruler of the town in conjunction with some people have swung into action to unearth the cause of the deaths and to put a stop to future occurrences.
On whether or not it was true that they actually saw a mermaid in the killer-well, a resident of the area who identified herself as Mama Dada said fear did not allow them to get near the well when some people were shouting “mami water”.
She said although she had not witnessed any such incidents before, issue of a mystery mermaid could not be ruled out.
A medical expert, Dr Peter Akwa, refuted all aclaims of a mysterious god or mermaid, stating that the gas emission from the fresh well could result into suffocation.
“It is clearly suffocation because the four friends were very close and they thought they were the only group that could help themselves, so be it. What happened later is a clear indication of what I have earlier said.”