Tragedy: Three World Bank officials drown in Ekiti

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By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti.
Three World Bank officials and a man believed to be the son of a contractor of a financial body, have drowned in Egbe River in Egbe community of Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The four people that died were said to be workers on a World Bank assessment mission to the river and reportedly commenced work on Tuesday night.
‪They were said to have come from Development Dams and Irrigation Schemes, Kaduna State and had died when the boat in which seven of them and their equipment were allegedly sailing, capsized.
‪Sources said four of the occupants of the boat, who didn’t wear life jackets died while three others survived.
‪The bodies of the dead were fished out by local fishermen, who were said to have been mobilised by the Chairman of Gbonyin Local Government Area, Mrs. Folasade Akinrinmola.
‪Mrs. Akinrinmola told New Nigerian on the telephone that she was notified of the incident by the traditional ruler of the community.
‪She said: “We immediately mobilised a rescue team and an ambulance and those wearing life jackets were rescued. The rescued people were the ones who told us that others were in the water. Their bodies were later retrieved by the local fishermen.”

On their mission to the river, the council boss said “we believe that they were there based on some of the proposals we had written on the dam and how it could be put to use and we believe that the World Bank had started work on the river based on the calls.”
‪She described the incident as “unfortunate”and said their bodies had been deposited at the mortuary in Ode-Ekiti, headquarters of the council area.
‪The Public Relations Officer of the Ekiti State Police Command, Mr. Alberto Adeyemi, confirmed the incident, saying “they must have come from the Federal Ministry because dams are owned by the Federal Government; their boat capsized, four of them died while three survived.”
Meanwhile,members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly have commiserated with the Federal Government and the World Bank over the death of the four officials.
According to a statement by the Speaker’s Special Assistant (Media), Stephen Gbadamosi, the House, at its plenary on Thursday, observed a one-minute silence in honour of the members of the World Bank assessment team.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Kola Oluwawole, responding to the observation made by the House Committee Chairman on Information, Chief Olugboyega Aribisogan, calling the House attention to the tragedy, described the development as saddening and unfortunate.
“It is a sad development. We have to express our condolences to the Federal Government and the World Bank. It is unfortunate that they died in active service and on our soil. I implore the House to let us stand and observe a minute silence in hounour of the departed officials,” Oluwawole requested.

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