Rijau town, the headquarters of Rijau Local Government Area of Niger state, was last Friday thrown into confusion as seven people, including the proprietor of a hairdressing salon, were found dead inside her salon.
The victims, all females, were said to be inside one of the salons inside the town preparatory to the Eid-el-kabir celebration the following day, Friday but unknown to them what would befall them in few hours to come.
Though the cause of the deaths remained a mystery, the women; two of them married and others unmarried were said to be inside the salon, using power generating set on as the area has been without light from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) for some days.
A source from the area told newsmen that trouble started when the rains started falling and the owner of the salon decided to move the power generating set they were using to power the shop inside the same shop where they were.
While they remained inside with the door closed inhaling the fumes out of eagerness to look beautiful, the source said the heavy down pour continued almost through late evening ahead of the next day’s Sallah.
The decision by the hairdresser to move the generator inside the saloon, closed the door and continue with her work on her six customers, may have become her greatest mistake as five out of the seven were found dead apparently out of exhaustion by the next day, Friday.
Newsmen further gathered that while five of the women had suffocated to death after probably inhaling the smoke from the generator throughout the night, two others were still alive as a Friday morning when they were discovered inside the salon shop.
Efforts to rush the two other women who were still alive as at Friday morning to a nearby health facility at Tungan Magajiya was however not possible due to lack of mobility as the hospital is said to be without an ambulance.
While alternative means of evacuating the victims to nearby hospital was being considered, newsmen learnt that the efforts was further frustrated following a resistance to the idea by a top politician in the area who had insisted that the Chairman of the council, Mallam Bello Bako must be fully in the picture of the incident.
The ensued confusion, disagreements and indecision between some politicians in the area resulting in protests by families of the two surviving women, the source further hinted caused undue delays that would have saved the women.
The intervention by the Sarkin Rijau (traditional ruler of Rijau), Alhaji Mohammed Bello Gidiya, however only brought about temporary relief as they were rushed to the hospital but unfortunately both of them gave up the ghost few minutes after they were brought in.
The bodies of the deceased were said to have been immediately released to their families and relations, and have since been buried according to Islamic rites.
When contacted the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Niger state command, ASP Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the incident but did not give further details, including the names of the seven women.
The PPRO who said the police in the state is trying to unravel what caused the death of the seven women inside the salon through a text message said, “Confirmed, names not necessary please. Investigation to unravel cause of the incident is on-going”.