A member of the Military Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta drowned on Thursday evening at the Taylor Creek close to an oilfield run by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, in Okordia, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria.
Reports say the soldier was escorting officials of NAOC, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, and some Oil workers who were returning from an assessment visit to an oil leak site when the incident occurred.
According to a member of the community, “The boat conveying the crew from Agip’s field capsized on their way back from the site and before help could arrive, the soldier drowned and died. They were using a hand-paddled canoe to cross the workers one at a time.”
“He was washing his boots when water entered that boat and it capsized and his riffle fell into the creeks. The other members of the crew had crossed and were waiting for him.” the source added.
The attention of fishermen operating along the creek was drawn to the distressed soldier and the operator of the boat who all came to rescue him, but he was already dead before the rescue.
Youth President Kalaba of the Community, Mr Samuel Oburo, said the dead soldier’s riffle was recovered by local divers on Friday.
“Some soldiers from Elele barrack came after the body of the soldier was recovered and asked me to mobilize local divers to search for the riffle of the soldier.”
“We went in search of the gun and we recovered the riffle and handed it over to them, later in the day another senior officer came around to thank the community,” Oburo said.
Col. Isa Ado, spokesman of the JTF in the Niger Delta could not be reached to comment on the incident, and text messages sent to him was not responded to.
Also, Eni, parent company of NAOC are yet to comment on the incident.