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Opinion

Junior Pope: Untold tale of the five people killed in the boat accident

Veteran actor and Special Assistant to the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Military Relations, Mr. Steve Eboh, has given detailed information about the boat accident that killed Nollywood actor Jnr. Pope and four other people at the Anam River in Anambra State, as well as how they managed to contain the situation. Eboh, also referred to as Ajebo, was a member of the production associates for the misguided film “Another Side of Life,” which was directed by Adanma Luke.

Shockwaves from the horrific occurrence have spread throughout the Nigerian film industry. And even though there are currently conflicting accounts circulating about the incident, Eboh has made the decision to provide clarification.

This comes just after the Marine Police of the Anambra State Command announced yesterday that the final three victims of the tragic boat tragedy have had their remains recovered. The final body washed ashore by the tide yesterday morning, with the other two being found on Thursday.

On the other hand, CP Aderemi Adeoye, the state commissioner of police, asked all water commuters to exercise caution and abstain from actions that could endanger their own safety as well as the safety of others. He pledged to look into the tragic situation more quickly.

Eboh described the events leading up to the boat accident, saying, “I was a production associate for the movie ‘Another side of Life.’” I was meant to be on that set that day. However, for some reason, I arrived to the scene much before of the actors and crew. In the hopes that they would give me a call when they got there, I returned home. However, the next thing I knew was that Chief Emeka Rollas, the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, had called and told me to travel to Asaba to find out what was going on. Instead of occurring in Asaba, the tragedy took place in Anambra State. But Asaba was the starting point.

But Eboh held actor TC Okafor responsible for the catastrophe. On Thursday, Okafor’s live session interview detailing the incident’s events went viral on social media.

Eboh claimed that Okafor continued to stand, dripping libation over the water while ringing his bell, all the while the victims were on board. In the process, he obscured the boat’s driver’s view, making it impossible for him to see the approaching canoe and causing a crash.

According to Eboh, “The producer of the film, Adanma Luke was supposed to be in the boat. But somehow, she forgot something and had to rush back to the hotel to pick it. That was how she missed the boat. But when the accident happened, we were asked to perform some rituals by the riverside before we recovered Jnr Pope’s body alongside the other victim. They were already dead when they were bought out of the water.

“I was at the riverside when they brought their bodies out of the water. At that point, I invited the police to take their corpses to the mortuary, but the supreme argument prevailed that we should take them to the hospital first for the doctors to confirm them dead. We went to the first hospital and they were confirmed dead. At the mortuary, the attendant insisted that we must obtain certain clearance before he would do anything.

“However, when our people decided to perform some rituals in accordance with the tradition of Anam people before taking the bodies away, the man that presided over the rituals told our people that their spirits were back in them and that we should rush them to the hospital to revive them. That was when it started trending that Jnr Pope was alive and people were rejoicing.

“Unfortunately, the hospital still confirmed them dead. We decided to take them to the third hospital, and it was the same story. At that point, there was nothing we could do again than to deposit their corpses in the morgue. As of yesterday, we recovered two bodies and they were buried the same day by the riverside. Their families were there. The Anambra State Police marine recovered the last body yesterday morning.

Why they were not wearing life jackets

“Those who were wearing life jackets included the director of the movie, the cameraman and the production manager. If the star actors in that boat had wanted to wear life jackets, they would have been given the jackets. But in a situation where everybody wanted content, to make videos and do a lot of expeditions on the water, it’s unfortunate, but then there’s nothing we can do about it. First and foremost, are we to blame the producer for giving out the job or the carelessness of some of the drivers of the boat who couldn’t provide what they were supposed to do for their passengers? At the moment, everyone in Nollywood is worried, I am worried. That’s the situation.

Way forward

“The way forward is that the ones to be buried here have been buried and the other ones are still in the mortuary. The producer is doing everything possible to ensure that everybody is satisfied.

Producer is heartbroken

“Adanma Luke is not feeling fine. She’s been down since yesterday, she’s completely heartbroken. If not because of God, I wouldn’t be talking to you now because I was supposed to be in that boat”.

Musawa mourns Jnr. Pope, Saratu Gidado

The Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy Hannatu Musa Musawa has expressed deep shock at the death of Nollywood actor Pope Obumneme Odonwodo who drowned in River Anam in Anambra state on Wednesday, after shooting a movie at a location.

Barely 48 hours after the death of Kannywood actress Saratu Gidado was announced, the Nigerian movie actor popularly known as Junior Pope reportedly drowned on his way back from a movie location alongside some persons yet to be confirmed.

Minister Musawa,in a statement issued by her SA media and Publicity, Nneka Anibeze, described the recent spate of deaths in the entertainment industry as horrific and tragic.

“It’s a sad week for us in the creative and movie industry and a black Wednesday. Losing two lives in three days is not only horrifying but colossal. We have lost great young talents and entertainment providers while generating content for Nigerian movie lovers. We mourn and commiserate with their families. We stand by them at this tragic time and our thoughts are with all those who know them”.

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