he Cross River State Police Command on Sunday confirmed the arrest of a 35-year-old man, Paul Nchui, who allegedly poisoned food in a restaurant leaving two dead and 44 others hospitalised in Ogoja Local Government Area.
The poisoning reportedly led to the death of the food vendor, Mrs. Anna Erah, and her husband, Edward, who were the first to eat the food on Friday.
The restaurant is located at Aragbang-Oboso Roundabout in Oboso community in Ogoja LGA.
Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo, said that the police had to trail the suspect to his hideout in the same community where he was arrested.
She said, “I wish to inform you that one Mr. Paul Nchui, a suspect who poisoned a restaurant in Oboso community in Ogoja has been arrested. The suspect is in our custody, we will charge him to court as soon as we conclude our investigation.”
Ugbo, who did not state the reason for the suspect’s action, however, said that some victims of the food poison had been discharged while others were still receiving treatment at the hospital.
An eyewitness, Joseph Ogaga, said the deceased Anna Erah was a food vendor at Aragbang-Oboso roundabout, where she did her business, while her husband also sold palm wine at the same venue.
He decried the sad incident, adding that the deceased couple left behind 12-year-old child and four other children.
Another eyewitness, Mr. Thomas Adogo, said he suspected that the poisoning might have been put in the soup sauce.
He said, “Those who bought the soup to use in their homes also suffered symptoms of foaming and vomiting blood.”
The village head of Oboso, Clement Ori, said the community was rattled by the incident and prayed for the recovery of hospitalised.
Also, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, disclosed that the symptoms displayed by the victims were vomiting, mouth foam, body weakness and vomiting of blood.
“We have dispatched a team made up of epidemiologists, doctors, community health workers and other related health staff to the affected community.
“They are to ascertain the real situation on ground and offer immediate medical assistance to all those affected by the poison,” she said.