Tragedy struck at a sleepy Obimo community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, Tuesday when two sand miners were trapped to their untimely death while loading a tipper lorry at a mining site.
While one of the victims, Emmanuel Ugwuoke, was confirmed dead on arrival by the management of Faith Foundation Hospital in Nsukka metropolis, the second victim, identified as Onyemaechi was still trapped in the sand at the time of filing this report.
The driver of the lorry was also severely injured and was rushed to Enugu city for ultrasound checks.
Vanguard gathered that while the victims were digging a hill located at Eka-Utara Obimo for sharp sand, part of it caved-in and trapped them.
At the Faith Foundation Hospital, some of the co-laborers mostly in their early 20s could not control their emotion as they cried uncontrollably when the remains of Ugwuoke was taken from the hospital for burial at his country home, Ajuona, also in Obimo.
While reacting to the development, one of the laborers, Sunday Okoro told Vanguard that he could not believe that Ugwuoke who was discussing with him in the morning before the incident was gone from the face of the earth, describing the incident as” mother of all tragedies.”
He further alleged that the hill where the incident happened is possessed with an evil spirit which claims lives of the laborers on a yearly basis, saying “it is not up to six months that village elders appeased the spirit with a cow because they learned that it was threatening to take two lives. I am surprised that this happened even after the rituals.”
Similarly, two laborers were allegedly electrocuted in a Chinese charcoal factory, Okwo-Chief, which is just a stone-throw from where the mining mishap happened.
Though information made available to Vanguard was sketchy, a laborer in the factory who pleaded for anonymity said the victims were removing charcoal from one the ovens used in burning woods into charcoal when electrical complications occurred, leading to their immediate demise.
Okwo-Chief is notorious for deforestation and cheap labor. The laborers earn N1,000 after off-loading charcoal from an oven amidst thick smoke and other attendant health challenges.
Some of the female laborers in the factory were alleged to have taken to prostitution in order to make ends meet.