The Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, in Adeke, Markurdi has said that a boat carrying 28 of its members, mostly youths had capsized on River Benue, killing no fewer than 26 of them, including a set of triplets.
Obinwannem news understands that the youths were on an evangelical mission in a neighboring community before they met their untimely death.
Speaking to newsmen, the Secretary of the English Section of the ECWA church, Miss Favour Simeon, said she was with the 26 youths who died in the accident during a Sunday service earlier in the day.
She further recalled that shortly after the Sunday service, the youths had come together and decided to embark on evangelism in another community across the River Benue.
It was noted that a set of triplets by name Peter, Paul and Paulina, who are children of a mobile policeman identified simply as Inspector Bulus were among those who drowned in the river when the boat capsized.
Further reports state that the 16-year-old triplets were supposed to celebrate their 17th birthday in September.
“Their mother actually warned them against going to River Benue because the volume of its water had increased, but one of them (Paulina) accused her of trying to weaken her faith”, Miss Simeon said.
“It was on that basis that their mother allowed them to traveled for evangelism,” Simeon said.
She described the incident as unfortunate, saying that the deceased triplets were devout Christians who had strong faith in God and loved to worship Him.
When asked how she received the news of the incident, she said: “My elder brother called me on the phone and asked if I went to evening service and I said no. He requested for Shadrach, one of the victims’ number. Dd “I was trying to call my brother again when a neighbor ran to me and said a canoe had capsized with our church members on board and all of them had died.
“I ran straight to the house of the triplets at Mobile Barracks and saw people gathered and their mother was crying.
“I ran to the bank of River Benue where the incident occurred and saw a body recovered on the bank of the river. I wept profusely.”
She blamed the police for what she described as a poor rescue operation, saying it took the intervention of the Benue State Commissioner of Police before the Marine police move to the scene for a search-and-rescue operation.
“By then, it was too late as most of them had drowned,” she said.
Nwada Ugochinyere Onyechere reporting, Obinwannem News