Junior Pope: NSIB Report Slams Boat Operator, Driver For Negligence In Fatal Accident

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau has released a preliminary report on the boat accident involving Nollywood stars in Anambra, which revealed that the boat driver lacked certification.

The NSIB announced this on Friday during a press briefing that coincided with the release of four other final and preliminary findings by the agency.

Alex Badeh, Director General of the NSIB, delivered two final reports on aviation incidents, one preliminary report on an aviation incident, and a preliminary report on a maritime disaster, along with 20 safety recommendations.

The boat was carrying 12 actors and crew members when it crashed, killing five passengers, including Mr. Paul Odonwodo, commonly known as Junior Pope, a prominent Nollywood actor.

The Director of Transport Investigation, who presented the preliminary report and other findings during the briefing, indicated that the speedboat capsized, dumping all occupants into the Anam River.

According to him, five passengers were killed, while seven were rescued alive.

The NSIB was not officially alerted of the accident, but learnt about it via social media.

On April 12, 2024, investigators from the National Security Investigation Bureau’s Enugu Regional Office were despatched to the accident site.

According to the agency, initial findings revealed that the boat driver was not certified, the fibre boat was not registered with the National Inland Waterways Authority, and the outboard engine fibre boat was carrying 12 passengers and one boat 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.”

According to the reports, five passengers on the boat died as a result of the incident, but the driver and seven others survived.

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“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.”

In its safety recommendations, the Bureau urged the National Inland Waterways Authority to ensure that all boats involved in commercial activities on the national inland waterways are registered, and that adequate safety measures are implemented and enforced in our inland waterways.