A middle-aged man has reportedly drowned in Oko community in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State as a result of floods ravaging parts of the state.
The incident was said to have occurred Friday night when people were returning home from their day’s outing.
Although details of the incident are sketchy, there are conflicting accounts as to what actually led to his drowning.
Community sources tell newsmen that the victim drowned in the overflowing flood water when a canoe he was being ferried on capsized following an alleged pursuit by youths said to be illegal tax collectors.
Confirming the death, the state police spokeswoman DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, who spoke to newsmen on phone, said the information she had received was that somebody had drowned.
Onovwakpoyeya said the bereaved father of the victim said they were dredging when his son suddenly “fell into the water. That he was being pursued by illegal tax collectors, I don’t know of that,” she said.
A source in the community, however, who claimed to be a farmer at Omeligboma 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,” the source told newsmen.
The source condemned the excesses of the youths in the area for taking advantage of the flood situation to cause more economic hardship for a people who are eking out a living by deploying their canoes to ferry residents to and from their places of work.
He warned that, if not checked, the worrying trend could escalate and cause more havoc to the community.