By Jimitota Onoyume
ASABA—Four people have been confirmed missing in a boat mishap which occurred in the Benin River, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, Saturday, after the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Command, ASP Chucks Orisewezie, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Warri, , yesterday.
Orisewezie said: “A boat loaded with 22 persons, which left Ebrohimi community and headed for Koko, capsized around Ureju community at about 01:20p.m.
“The occupants of the boat were three policemen and 19 community people. 18 persons, including the three policemen have been rescued, while search is still on for the remaining four missing persons and two of the rescued victims have been taken to the hospital for medical care.
“I must clarify that there were no Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, staff or NYSC members on board just as there were no election materials in the boat.
“Investigation into the incident is already on.”
Also, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Delta, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, refuted reports that INEC staff were involved in the boat mishap.
He said: “I understand that my staff members and ad hoc staff were not involved. They are safe. I don’t think the mishap affected the materials because it happened later in the day, from what I know.”
Sources said the ill-fated boat was returning the passengers from election duties in Ebrohimi community to Koko, the administrative headquarters of Warri North Local Government Area, when the incident happened.
Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has ordered a search team for the missing persons.
This was disclosed, yesterday, by former Chief of Staff, Government House and Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Solomon Areyenka, the Eson of Warri Kingdom.
He said the Chairman of Warri North Local Government, Mr. Abugie Okorodudu, had been on ground alongside other good Nigerians to ensure the victims were rescued.
He expressed hope that those still missing would be recovered before the end of the day.