Jnr Pope: Untold story of the boat mishap that killed 5

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Veteran actor and SA to the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Military Relations, Mr Steve Eboh has provided graphic details on the boat mishap which claimed the lives of Nollywood actor Jnr. Pope and four others at Anam River, in Anambra State and how they have been able to bring the situation under control.

Eboh, who’s popularly known as Ajebo was part of the production Associates of the ill-fated movie, ‘Another Side of Life” being produced by Adanma Luke.

The tragic incident has sent shockwaves across the length and breadth of the Nigerian movie industry. And while different stories are still flying around in respect of the incident, Eboh has decided to shed light on it.

This is just as the Marine Police of Anambra State Command said yesterday that they have recovered bodies of the the remaining three victims of the unfortunate boat accident. Two of the bodies were recovered on Thursday, while the last body was thrown ashore by the tide yesterday morning.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Aderemi Adeoye, however, urged all water commuters to be safety conscious and avoid behaviour that may jeopardize their safety and that of others while on transit on water. He promised an expedited investigation into the sad accident.

Narrating how the boat mishap happened, Eboh said: “I was part of the production Associates of the movie, ‘Another Side of Life.’ On that day, I was supposed to be on that set. But somehow, I got to the location very early when the cast and crew were not yet there. I went back home, hoping that they would call me when they arrived. But the next thing I heard was what happened and the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Chief Emeka Rollas called me, and instructed me to move to Asaba to ascertain the situation. The incident didn’t happen in Asaba, rather it happened in Anambra State. But the takeoff point was Asaba.”

Eboh, however, blamed actor TC Okafor for the misfortune. Okafor’s live session interview, narrating how the incident happened went viral on social media on Thursday.

According to Eboh’s account, while the victims were on board, Okafor kept standing and was pouring libation on the water, and at the same time ringing his bell. In the process, he blocked the view of the person steering the boat in such a way that he couldn’t see the incoming canoe, thereby leading to a collision.

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 up. 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 they were 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 by the tradition of the 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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