The body of a 15-year old boy was, on Monday, was washed up in Ajali river in Umuji town, Ebenebe, Awka North local government area of Anambra state.
The deceased, identified as Master Ebuka Onuenyenwa, a Senior Secondary School student in Mbieri, Imo state, was said to have gone to the river to swim where he got drowned.
An eye witness, Mr. Onyeibor Ekwueme, said he had advised the deceased to avoid the deeper side of the river when he was about entering.
Ekwueme who described the incident as tragic, said he sensed trouble when he could not sight him again after his voice ceased. “I was still taking my bath in the river when I heard a loud noise. But as soon as I looked up, I could not find him anymore,” he said.
The grandfather of the deceased, Mr. Romanus Onuenyenwa, said Ebuka left for the river after clearing the drainage during last Saturday environmental sanitation exercise but did not return.
“As soon as he was through with clearing up the gutter, he went to the river but did not come back until on Monday when the body floated on the Ajalli River.
Also reacting, the deceased father, Mr. Ikechukwu Onuenyenwa who wept uncontrollably, said he just brought him back from his maternal family last November. “I just came in from Akwa-Ibom state after receiving the sad news through a phone call. It is so unfortunate that my son died at such a tender age,” he said.
Ajali River, said to be joined with that of Ezu at some point at the Ebenebe side of Ezu River, had reportedly drowned one Master Munachi Ajuora in January. Munachi was said to have been buried by the banks of the river.
A cabinet chief in the community, Mr. Richard Enukora, had attributed the constant drowning of people in the river to the deity of Ajalli River whose house was pulled down by a contractor during the construction of the Ebenebe road. But the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Christopher Nnaegbuna, debunked the claim, explaining that the cases of people drowning in the river had been a recurring issue in the community.
He said residents of the area had severally been warned to stay away from the river.
Our correspondent gathered that the remains of the deceased had since been deposited in a nearby morgue.