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Families of Benue boat mishap victims search for 23 bodies

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Ortom mourns, describes incident as painful
Fresh facts indicate that 26, not 23, persons lost their lives in a boat mishap on River Benue in Makurdi on Sunday afternoon.

The Guardian gathered that bereaved families were intensifying search to recover the remains of 23, as only three had been recovered at press time, according to police sources.

It has further been revealed that the 26 victims were parishioners of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Adeke, Makurdi, who were going for an annual conference, New Life for All, when their boat capsized midstream around Ijaha community.

They victims, who were children and relatives of policemen of MOPOL 13 Barracks, were said to be crossing from Agbor, Innyongu Area of Wadata, to an island opposite Kwaghter called Ole-Gabu, for the retreat.

Most of the policemen were reportedly on special duty in the North East, leaving their wives and children in Makurdi.

The state police command had earlier confirmed 21 persons missing in the boat accident.

When The Guardian visited the barracks yesterday, mourners were seen consoling bereaved families.

But the District Church Council (DCC) Secretary of ECWA, Rev. Benjamin Dooga, who led pastors of the district to commiserate with the families, told newsmen that as sad as the incidence was, the church had surrendered to the will of God.

His words: “The church believes that God is supreme and no human can question his authority. Since we are human, we cannot understand what has happened, but God understands.”

According to him, what has happened is for the good of the church.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Benue, DSP Catherine Anene, confirmed that three corpses had so far been recovered from the river, while efforts were being made to recover the remaining.

Governor Samuel Ortom sympathised with families of the victims and described the incident as painful.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor particularly consoled ECWA.

“The governor urges members of Kwaghter community, where the incident took place, to cooperate with the police rescue team to enable it find the missing persons.

“He reminds Benue people about this year’s weather predictions on torrential rains and advises that those who travel by water should employ all safety measures to avoid unforeseen incidents.

“Governor Ortom enjoins Benue people to always observe COVID-19 prevention measures by staying away from crowded places to curb the spread of the disease,” the statement read in part.


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