From Ochei Matthew, Asaba
Quite a number of residents of Asaba, the Delta State capital would not forget 2015 in hurry. This would be especially true for a sizeable number of them who now carry permanent reminder of the just ended year in the form of injuries they sustained while using firecrackers to see off 2015 and usher in 2016.
As it were, two people were reported died while 20 people including children, teenagers and adults landed in various hospitals in the state for injuries caused by firecrackers, with two having their hands amputated.
When The Dream Daily visited the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba a lot of fireworks patients were seeing on admission, all of whom regretted using the banned firecrackers. One of them, Master Lucky Ikechukwu, blamed his father for buying the firecrackers for him.
“I don’t know why my father bought it for me. I never used it before, I decided to use them but the last one ended up putting me in pains and landed me in the hospital” he lamented
Another victim of firecracker, Uneke James shared his ordeal. He said that at about 12:30am on January 1, 2016, he sparked off three sticks of firecrackers. While two exploded, the third apparently had a delayed explosion. Thinking that the third stick on Banger firecracker was no longer active, James went to pick it up. At the moment of contact, however, the firecracker came alive by exploding, shattering James’ right wrist.
Another casualty who disclosed his name as Emmanuel stated that as he was coming out of his house to attend night church service a banger from nowhere landed on his right palm and exploded, throwing him into unbearable pains.
The Medical Director, FMC Asaba Dr. Victor Osiatuma said that in the course of the New Year festivities, many firecrackers-related injuries were seen in the hospital. “One was beyond repair and we transferred him to Oghara Teaching Hospital for treatment, the explosion ate up the soft tissues of his palm and they may end up amputating the boy’s hand,” Osiatuma stated.
“Also his kidney has been affected and if care is not taken it may shutdown or it may lead to acute renal failure. His parents could not afford to pay for hospital bill because a lot of money will be needed,” he added.
Dr. Osiatuma stressed that parents should learn from the havoc caused by firecrackers in the Yuletide and New Year celebration, and stop buying it for their children.
He stressed that firecrackers were “prohibited by law yet people find a way of bringing them into the country. The prohibition is for the safety of the people not to save money for the country as speculated by the masses.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relation Officer in Delta, DSP Kalu said that command had earlier warned members of the public against the use of fireworks since they were illegal.
“No arrest was made but I’m aware that one of the victim was critically ill in Oghara teaching hospital. it affected his kidney and some at FMC, but I’m not aware of the said two that died,” Kalu added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Osiatuma has appealed to the public to come to the FMC mortuary to check for their lost ones as unidentified dead bodies were congesting the mortuary.
He said if the relations of the unidentified dead did not come to claim then soon, the hospital would have to evacuate the bodies for mass burial.