By Ovie Okpare
There was confusion in Oko community in the Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State, following the reported drowning of a man suspected to be in his late forties (40s) owing to the ravaging flood in the area.
Sources in the community claimed that the deceased was said to be returning home when the incident happened on Friday.
It was gathered that a wooden boat with which the victim was being ferried home as a result of the flood in the community was said to had capsized and drowned in the process.
However, other sources in the community gave conflicting details of the incident, saying that the boat conveying the deceased was being allegedly chased by some youths who wanted to collect illegal tax from the boat owner.
It was gathered that the in the process the boat capsized and the deceased, a passenger, died in the process.
A farmer at Omeligboma community in Oko insisted that ” 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.”
But the source confirmed that residents had to use canoe as a result of the flood which had made the community not assessable to indigenes of the area.
The source condemned the excesses of the youths in the area for taking advantage of the flood situation to bring more economic pains on the people of the area.
Meanwhile, the State Police Command confirmed the death of the victim on Saturday.
The State Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Onome Onovwakpoyeya said the information available to the command indicated that the deceased drowned.
Onovwakpoyeya said the bereaved father of the victim said they were dredging when the son suddenly “fell into the water. That he was being pursued by illegal tax collectors, I don’t know of that.’