No fewer than 20 people have been treated for food poisoning in Joi village in Riyon Local Government Area of Plateau State after taking Kunu, a local drink made from millet.
According to a report by the Premium Times, the millets were part of the COVID-19 palliatives looted at the state government warehouses sold off at the community’s market.
It was gathered that some residents of the community, including a community leader, Stephen Jugu, were treated for food poisoning over the weekend.
Mr Jugu, who is also the Secretary of the COCIN Local Church Council, confirmed that himself and not less than 20 others were affected by the drink.
He said: “I woke up in the middle of the night and discovered that it was diarrhoea that was disturbing me. I discovered that it was because of the Kunu I took.
“Later on, I learnt that it was the same thing with other people. There were more than twenty people but they have been discharged.”
The community leader, who confirmed that all the affected persons have been discharged, said the issue had been reported to the chairperson of the development association
“They went and bought millet and corn from a local store. Then, when one of the ladies prepared the local drink, friends and families who drank out of the Kunu had a running stomach.
“Some of them fainted, passing out blood. They were admitted at the local hospital and treated,” Tim Danchal, the Chairman, Jol Community Development Association, said.
Mr Danchal added that the case had been reported to the local government authorities for investigation and contact-tracing.
He said: “I spoke to the director of health at the local government who sent an officer to the community on Saturday.
“We are following up on that to do contact tracing if the local government will send in staff to talk to these people and if possible the woman who sold the grains is located.”
He feared that many more persons from other communities may have also drunk from the same source or bought the contaminated millet.
However, the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer in the local government, Livinus Miskoom, said the trader had been traced and confirmed to have applied storage chemicals to the grains.
According to him, the figures provided by the community leader were exaggerated as only four persons were admitted.
“There were only four people when I went there and they have been treated.”
When asked about another probable cause, Mr Miskoom referred to the looting of warehouses during the #EndSARS protest staged against police brutality.
Some of the looted items are grains preserved with chemicals that make their consumption dangerous.
“You know recently people broke warehouses to steal palliatives. They warned that people should not buy it. People went and bought it and took and they started having stomach pain.”
“It could be one of the suspects. Because the woman said she bought it from the market.
“I’m suspecting that it is some of the people that stole palliatives. You know everybody needs money now,” the health officer said.
He, however, did not reveal the status of investigation on the incident, but said he had sent reports to the World Health Organization and State Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Health, Nimkom Ndam, when contacted, said he has not been briefed on the situation by the medical director at the local government level.
The secretary to the government of the state, Danladi Atu, had in October warned against the consumption of looted food items.
He warned members of the public from consuming some of the looted food items because they are dangerous for human consumption as they have been chemically treated for preservation.