By Israel Usulor
Tragedy struck in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State on Tuesday, July 13, after three persons lost their lives after consuming a meal of amala.
The three deceased persons are reportedly members of the same family. Reports say the incident involved five siblings who consumed a locally prepared yam flour meal popularly known as amala. They were said to have been rushed to Children Specialist Hospital, Centre Igboro on Princess road, Ilorin when they complained of severe abdominal pains and vomiting. Three of the five siblings were pronounced dead from food poisoning. The two survivors has been discharged from the hospital.
An official of the Kwara State Disease Surveillance Notification Officer, Alhaji Muhammad Abdullahi, confirmed the incident to newsmen saying:
“When we got to the place, their father told us that five of his children ate the Amala meal but three later started vomiting before they were rushed to the Children Specialist Hospital, Ilorin.”
“Their father, who is a farmer, told us he produced the yam flour (Elubo) himself and cannot say what really happened,” he added.
This is not the first time people are dying from food poising in Ilorin. In November 2018, four members of a family perished in the area after the consumption of `amala’ meal, suspected to be poisonous.
Amala is a local delicacy among the Yoruba in South-west Nigeria. The staple, which is a “swallow”, is made out of yam flour, cassava flour, or unripe plantain flour. The process of making amala involves the use of peeled yams, which are then sliced, cleaned, dried and then blended into a flour. It is also called èlùbọ́.
Food poisoning is a recurring incident in Nigeria. In 2012, a Professor of Food Science and Technology, Alfred Ihenkuronye, said that more than 200,000 persons die of food poison in Nigeria annually.
According to him: “There are many avenues through which foods can be contaminated. And when people eat these foods, they will have problems which may result in deaths,”
“The way out is sensitisation and training. We sensitise people about the enormity of the problem and we train them on how to do things properly,’’ he said.