The Boat Driver That Transported Late Junior Pope, Other Actors Were Not Certified – NSIB Reveals

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The boat incident involving Nollywood actors in Anambra has been addressed in a preliminary report released by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

The report highlights that the boat operator did not possess the necessary certification.

During a press briefing on Friday, the NSIB disclosed this information and published four other final and preliminary reports.

Alex Badeh, the Director General of NSIB, presented two final reports on aviation incidents, one preliminary report on an aviation incident, and a preliminary report on a marine accident. Additionally, the agency provided 20 safety recommendations.

Tragically, the boat, which was carrying 12 actors and crew members, crashed, resulting in the loss of five passengers, including the well-known Nollywood actor Mr. Paul Odonwodo, also known as Junior Pope.

The initial report presented by the Director of Transport Investigation during the briefing indicated that the speedboat capsized in the Anam River, resulting in all occupants being thrown into the water. It was reported that five passengers lost their lives, while seven were successfully rescued.

The NSIB was informed about the incident through social media as they were not officially notified. Investigators from NSIB’s Enugu Regional office were then sent to the accident site on April 12, 2024.

Preliminary investigations conducted by the agency uncovered that the boat driver did not possess the necessary certification, the fiber boat was not registered with the National Inland Waterways Authority, and the outboard engine fiber boat was carrying 12 passengers along with the driver.

The director said,

 “There was only one person on the wooden fishing canoe. This rowdiness in the boat distracted the driver and he was not looking out as required.

“The boat was on high speed and the crossing canoe was moving at a much slower speed.

“The only occupant of the canoe, on sighting the fast approaching boat jumped into the river and escaped; The boat collided with the canoe at a high speed which resulted in the boat capsizing and all persons onboard were flung into Anam River.”

The report indicated that although five passengers aboard the boat sustained fatal injuries, the driver and seven other passengers survived the collision.

“Only one passenger on the outboard engine fibre boat was wearing a life jacket. The only passenger wearing a life jacket came with it and was not provided by the operator.

“The passenger wearing the life jacket was one of the survivors. The boat was fitted with an outboard engine. There was no manifest of passengers and persons onboard the boat. The rescue operation was not timely and there were no trained divers around to assist in the operation.”

The National Inland Waterways Authority has been strongly advised by the bureau to prioritize safety measures for all boats engaged in commercial activities within the national inland waterways.

The authorities must ensure that these boats are registered and that adequate safety measures are both implemented and enforced in our inland waterways.

Tragically, on April 10, 2024, Junior Pope lost his life when their boat capsized in the Anam River in Anambra state.

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