Two students of Alex Secondary School, Idua in Eket local government has drowned in the Qua Iboe River close to Senator Helen Esuene’s residence.
The victims, Aniekan Harry and Uche Okoli hails from Uruan and Eastern Obolo local government areas in Akwa Ibom state respectively.
Aniekan Harry (left) Uche Okoli (right) with friends on the day of the incident
iReporters gathered that the victims were in SSS 2 class.
According to an eye witness who spoke to iReporters on the condition of anonymity, said that the incident happened between 11a.m and 12pm on Thursday beside Esuene beach in Eket.
He explained that unfolding situation proves that the students had visited the area on grounds of playing football before the day of the sad incident.
He explained further that the students were eight in number, who left the school premises without informing the school management.
Recounting the ugly scenario, Master Owen Oscar, one of the eight students who accompanied the victims, said that the match that was to be played with the rival school was postponed, so since they had no exam, they decided to go to the area to have some fun.
” some of us were not in school that day to write examination”
“I now went home and changed up and went to one of our friend’s house (Elijah), to inform him of the match postponement.
“We all agreed to go to Qua River close to Hospital road to play football, ” Oscar said.
Oscar said, “when they finished playing football, the victims told the other six that they were tired and wanted to swim in the river.
He said that others advised the victims (Harry and Okoli) not to go but they refused and went ahead to swim in the river.
According to Oscar, we told them not to go into the river that the it is so deep and the victims said they should leave them alone, that they want to swim.
“Then, I told them to wait, let everybody swim together but they insisted”
He explained that Okoli jumped inside the river while Harry slipped.
“On noticing that they were helpless inside the river, we now called the marine policemen that were around to come to their aid. The marine policemen now called people around to search for the victims but to no avail.
“The marine policemen advised us to go to their parents houses and tell them what happened and return their bags,” he said.
Also speaking, Asuquo Ekong, the Principal of the school, who confirmed that two of his students were drowned in Qua River, said that the school management was not aware of the match between his school and any rival school.
“The school management was not aware of their plan to play football with any rival school, they left the school without the knowledge of the school management,” he said.
“I have interrogated them but they are giving me conflicting versions of the incident,” Ekong said.
Ekong said that if there would be any match, the rival school would officially write to inform the school.
He said that on the day of the incident, he supervised the exams and after the exams he travelled to Ikot Abasi for a friend’s marriage.
Responding to the sad incident, Mrs Mercydonia Harry, relation of one of the victims, alleged that the six students who survived went to initiate her brother.
She described the incident as worrisome and so pathetic, saying that the duo was innocent.
iReporters gathered that the incident occurred on Thursday, while the corpses floated on the Ocean on Saturday morning after three days.
Reacting to the incident, the Akwa Ibom Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana confirmed the incident, said that the students went to swim in the river.
He said that the police was aware of the incident and had recovered the corpses.
“Police is aware of the incident and the corpses have been recovered,” Elkana said.
He advised parents and their wards to be more cautious, saying that swimming in the river was not a crime.
“They have their right to go to where they want to go, but I advise people to be careful when they go to swim and think about their safety first,” he said.
He said that the incident has nothing to do with cultism, that they just went to the river to bath.
(Photo 1-Aniekan Harry (left) Uche Okoli (right) with friends on the day of the incident)