Ancestral Snakes’ invade Kanke, Kanam in plateau
More than 50 persons in Plateau State, in two weeks have been bitten by what is popularly known as ‘ancestral snakes,’ which have invaded Kanke and Kanam communities as a result of heavy flooding that washed them into the localities.
Our correspondent learnt that, the people living close to the river-banks of Kanke and Kanam Local Government councils are beginning to count their loses, while they are calling for government intervention.
Disclosing this to journalists in Jos, recently, a member representing Pankshin, Kanke and Kanam Federal Constituencies in the National Assembly, Hon. Timothy Golu, said, “out of the over 50 persons affected, some have died, while others are in a critical conditions on admission in various hospitals and traditional snake treating homes in the state.”
He said that, 13 victims were at Zamko clinic in Langtang, 20 in traditional healers’ treatment homes, seven in herbalists’ centres, while some visit the centres for daily treatment owing to lack of bed space.
According to him, “some of the people have been treated and discharged, but a woman at my place, who has been treated and discharged, still has pus gushing from the bitten spot, and we have advised her to return to the hospital for fresh checks; and we have the fear that something worse may result from the wound if not properly treated because she is already limping.”
It is also reported that the situation is very scary and pathetic, and that the snakes, which move openly and always in pairs, were washed into the communities by flood.
The report further indicated that, as the flood pushed the snakes from the overflown tributaries of Rivers Benue and Niger. Some snakes climbed trees, others entered holes, while some just held unto any available straw; and all of them later descended into residences and farms where they have been wrecking havoc. It further stressed that, the commonest species were the black mamba, carpet viper and cobra, and declared that most victims usually depend on luck to survive.
The Honourable member urged the federal and plateau state governments to treat the snake invasion as a national medical emergency concern and give it the same response given to HIV/AIDS and the ebola virus.
He called on government to come in with full force and ensure that the anti-snake venom is provided to the people free-of-charge because it is too expensive for the rural poor, and and called on other world health bodies like WHO and UNICEF to also step in because it is a serious situation that requires all hands on deck.
He also called on the federal and state governments to fumigate the homes, farmlands and the general environment of the communities to reduce the number of snakes, especially since they appeared to be reproducing.
He said that the fumigation would also reduce the number of crocodiles washed into the communities, pointing out that the weather of the area was naturally attractive to such reptiles.
Golu equally said he had advised the people to use hand-gloves and rain-boots, while on their farms, to minimise the effect of the snake attacks.
Investigation further revealed that the urban centres were not spared as a huge black African cobra mamba was killed in the Jos residence of a former member of the House of Representatives recently, whose name couldn’t be disclosed.