By Festus Ahon- Asaba
A middle aged man has reportedly drowned in Oko community, Oshimili South Local Government Area, Delta State, after the ravaging flood overflowed the bank of the river Niger.
The incident according to a dependable source, occurred on Friday night when residents of the flood-prone community were returning home after the days activities.
However, there were conflicting accounts of what actually led to the death of the young man.
Community sources, however, said the victim drowned in the overflowing water after the canoe he was being ferried with capsized following an alleged hot pursuit by youths suspected to be illegal tax collectors.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, in the State, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya said she got information that somebody drowned.
Onovwakpoyeya said father of the deceased said they were dredging when the son suddenly fell into the water, claiming that he was being pursued by illegal tax collectors.
Meanwhile, a farmer at Omeligboma community in Oko said; “the man got drowned when their boat capsized because they were being chased by youths who usually intercept and extort money from canoe operators who ferry people from the Asaba end of River Niger Bridge Head to the communities in Oko.
“This morning we woke up to hear that someone commissioned our people to search for the dead body in the river and as soon as we recover it, we shall call the police to take away the body.”
Condemning the excesses of the youths in the area for taking advantage of the flood situation to bring more economic pains on the people who are making a living using their canoes to ferry residents of the area.
Speaking further, the source who pleaded anonymity, warned that if not checked, the trend could escalate and cause more havoc.