Sunday 12th July was a black Sunday for residents of Adeke community and environs in Benue State. After Church service on that day, 26 youths all members of the Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, in the village lost their lives in a hydro disaster. Five of the dead, including a triplet were members of the same family.
The young persons died when a boat carrying them capsized on River Benue. They were going on an evangelism mission to a neighbouring community when tragedy struck.
It was gathered that the boat had 28 persons on board when the wreckage occured. There were however two lucky survivors.
The Secretary of the English Section of the ECWA church, Miss Favour Simeon, in tears said she was with the 26 youths who died in the accident at Sunday service earlier in the day.
According to Eastwest Reporters, Simeon 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.
She said among those who drowned in the river when the boat capsized were a set of triplets by name Peter, Paul and Paulina, who are children of a mobile policeman identified simply as Inspector Bulus. Inspector Bulus was said to be away on Special duty at the time the incident occurred.
Simeon, an acquaintance of the 16-year-old triplets who were supposed to celebrate their 17th birthday in September, recalked that “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.
“It was on that basis that their mother allowed them to travel 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.
Asked how she received the news of the death of his church members, 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.
“I was trying to call my brother again when a neighbour 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 the 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 moved to the scene for a search-and-rescue operation.
“By then, it was too late as most of them had drowned,” she said.
Grief seized the atmosphere at Squadron MOPOL 13 Mobile Barracks. Some residents of the barracks were seen in front of their houses weeping as relations and friends trooped in to console them.
The grief was, however, more pronounced in the home of Inspector Bulus because apart from his triplets, two other members of his household, Miss Sadutu Kabina and her sister Precious, were said to have died in the boat mishap.
The entire community and the ECWA family worldwide have been thrown into mourning by the disaster.