Linus Oota, Lafia
There are fairy tales surrounding the small stream with stagnated water that serves various communities in Agyaragu, Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Residents are of the firm belief that the river has metamorphosed into a dangerous pit with stories of mysterious deaths recorded at its banks. These confirmed their fears that the river “takes human lives yearly.”
They believe that it is an infamous natural trap that has lured many into its seemingly calm waters, only to extinguish their lives. The stream is regarded as the most dangerous in the state. So far, it has claimed 25 lives of Agyaragu indigenes and visitors. These included those who also patronised the stream to bath, wash and other domestic use as well as irrigation farming purposes.
Our correspondent who visited the stream revealed some tragic stories of its victims in years past. It was revealed that anytime it rains heavily, its water becomes deeper, running faster and more turbulent, dragging down anything that steps into it.
The recent victims of the stream were two brothers who went there to fetch water and to spray chemical on their farm. But they were allegedly trapped by the “spirit of the stream to death.”
Father of the deceased, Mr Nicolas Kwaghtser, a Tiv man from Agyaragu told Daily Sun that his two children, 14 and 17, went to the stream to fetch water to spray chemicals on the farm: “The younger one stepped into the stream and was trapped down. Immediately, his brother, Godwin Terhemba, jumped in to rescue him and he too became a victim. Their lifeless bodies were later removed by the villagers.”
One of the oldest men in the village, Baba Audu Gumu, who conducted our correspondent round the stream said: “This stream was small before, but as time goes on, it keeps expanding yearly and consumed many lives. No year past without seeing people dead in this water.
“I have personally removed more than six dead bodies here. One of my boys also removed two dead bodies in the stream. We have warned people to stop entering certain portions of the stream but they won’t listen.
“Even if you know how to swim, once the spirit in the water wants to celebrate with you, you will definitely die mysteriously. I used to be a fisherman and have been to many rivers across the country. I am conversant with rivers and the spirit there in.
“I fish here both in the rainy and dry seasons. Every river has its spirit attached to it. The spirit changes its position in the water. Like this pit, before now the deepness was found at the western part, but now it has shifted to the middle and the eastern parts of it.
“As I entered to remove some victims, the open layer of the water was not cold nor hot. Going down deep the water is cooler than ice, while beneath the water level is worm. The water does not rise above the level you are seeing it even during rainy season.”
Rita John, an old woman in the village said she grew up to meet the stream: “People who died here are more than 25. But for us the Tiv community, this is the first time our two children died. There was a time some people came to fish here and something came out from the stream and went back and the people died thereafter.
“Few months ago, a woman entered the stream and could not come out alive. She was from Akwanga on a visit to Agyaragu and decided to join friends to bath in there.”
Another farmer in the village, Dahiru Bako, said the stream behaved mysteriously: “There was a time I was irrigating my farm close to the river. Something came out tall from the water and changed the atmosphere as the weather became very hot.
“People were shouting and calling me to leave the farm. When I lifted my eyes up, I saw something like rainbow, changing the colour of the water as well as the plants around. What saved me was that I was not inside the water.”