From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Three persons have been reportedly drowned during a Christmas picnic and carnival held at River Buruku in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State.
The dead, according to sources from the area, were among hundreds of youths who had gathered for the said picnic cum carnival despite warnings by the state government and security agencies that they should shelve the fiesta.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), DSC Michael Ejelikwu, confirmed the report, saying that,”on Friday December 24, at about 1020 am, the Command got credible Intelligence about the Illegal gathering of Youths in their hundreds at River Buruku, for what they termed as picnic and carnival.
“The Benue State Government and Tiv Traditional Council, had at different intervals banned the carnival owing to its negative vices. However, the youths still went ahead with the carnival.
Ejelikwu added that the Command, on the strength of the Intelligence, deployed it’s men to the location on the December 25, in collaboration with Sister agencies to maintain law and order and if possible stop the carnival from holding, but the number of the touths out-numbered security officials who had to retreat for the sake of peace.
“However, on Sunday December 26, there were unsubstantiated reports of missing persons, which were confirmed on Monday ,after three dead bodies were recovered by a search team of divers at about 10 :am ,” the NSCDC’s PRO said.
He identified the deceased as Chiater Achir,18, from Akaajime – Gboko, Aondoso Iorliam,20 from Mbalagh, Burukuand Aondogu Gbir, 30, from Yandev North , Gboko.