Residents of Ekpan and Effurun communities in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State broke down in tears yesterday when the bodies of two young lovers who drowned in Ekpan River were recovered.
Our reporter gathered that divers, who were contracted by the communities’ leadership, removed the decomposing bodies of the couple, identified simply Kess and Onoriode, from the river at 1 pm.
They were buried beside each other at the spot from where they jumped into the river.
Their burial rites were preceded by a short traditional service, which excluded women and girls.
A youth leader, Pastor Leader Nimogha, told our reporter on phone that the deaths were unfortunate.
Nimogha, who is Kess’s uncle, said: “It is very unfortunate that the two promising lovers ended this way. There is no doubt that the tragedy is as a result of youthful exuberance. They chose to express their love in a dangerous manner because they couldn’t swim.”
A crowd comprising women, youths, friends and families of the deceased started gathering on the scene of the tragedy as early as 6 am in anticipation of witnessing the discovery of the bodies.
In line with Urhobo custom, the bodies of drowned persons would surface about 24 hours after drowning.
“It is a well known fact here that the body of a drowned person usually resurfaces 24 hours after. So, as the boy and girl sank at 2 pm yesterday, we expect their bodies to resurface today,” a resident on the scene told our reporter.
Nearly 1,000 grief-stricken residents converged on the New (Odogun) Layout and Ogbomwan suburbs in the morning yesterday.
The young lovers met at their romantic rendezvous near the river on Wednesday.
Kess was said to have entered the river first and persuaded Onoriode to join him.
But they were said to have suddenly disappeared shortly after entering the river.
Ekpan River separates the exurb Bendel Estate from New Layout and Okuisoko areas of Effurun.
It was learnt that the young lovers took a stroll to the riverside in search of quietude and from the scorching sun.
But there were conflicting accounts of how they drowned.
While a source said Kess was trying to teach his girlfriend how to swim, another claimed that they died after Onoriode fell into the water and Kess made a futile attempt to rescue her.
Source: The Nation