Junior Pope's Death Should Serve As a Lesson to All of Us -- Anambra Culture Commissioner, Onyenji

2024-04-16 20:33:56

The 247 Ureports

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The Anambra State Commissioner for Culture, Entertainment and Tourism, Mr. Don Onyenji, has called on the members of the public to learn some lessons from the recent fatal boat mishap that occured in the State, involving a movie cast.

Recall that, on Wednesday April 10, a boat that conveyed a movie crew to a film location in Anambra West L.G.A. of Anambra State, was returning to Asaba, where it took off from when a mishap befell it, leading to the death of some of the people in the boat, including famous Nollywood actor, John Paul Odonwodo (popularly known as Junior Pope), among others.

The incident has, since then, has continued to generate a chain of reactions and counter-reactions from Nigerians and other concerned individuals across the world, who, among other things, condemned the non-observance of the necessary precautionary and safety measures before embarking on such trip, especially as it concerns provision of and the use of life jackets by the people, which are prerequisites for any such boat/water-related adventure.

Reacting to the incident while addressing newsmen in Awka, Commissioner Onyenji, described it as unfortunate and painful, especially considering the loss of lives that resulted from it, including that of Junior Pope and other promising talents in the movie and other creative industries.

He revealed that, prior to the unfortunate incident, the state government, through the Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Tourism, had an ongoing deal for a movie project with the deceased actor, Junior Pope, and which would have been done under the Ministry's brainchild -- the ANAWOOD (Anambra movie industry); regretting that Pope's life has just been cut short in such an unthinkable manner.

According to the Commissioner, it was very disheartening to hear and very unimaginable to believe that such an experienced movie crew as that and such an experienced boat rower could take off for such a trip without some of them wearing life jackets, which, he said, must always be provided for everyone in the boat by the rower, who must also ensure everyone wears it, before takeoff.

He said it was also the right of every passenger in any such boat to demand for and receive a life jacket, adding that efforts must also always be made to ensure that no boat is overloaded or carries more than the stipulated number of passenger it is expected to carry at a time. He explained thàt despising or not giving adequate consideration and attention to these somewhat common but important safety measures usually contributes to the misfortunes that befall boats and boat passengers on the river, as well as the severity and fatality of such misfortunes.

Commissioner Onyenji, who said it was very big mistake that most of these minor-but-very-important safety measures were not observed before the boat took off, further advised members of the public who also despise other such minor-but-very-important safety and precautionary measures at their respective workplaces and in their daily lives, to learn their lessons from the death of Junior Pope and the incident that resulted to it.

Citing some instances, the Commissioner lamented that many industrial/factory workers no longer put on their safety kits, such as helmet, gloves, masks, spectacles, boots, and others, while many motorcycle drivers no longer wear helmets. This negligence, he said, has resulted to many unavoidable deaths and dangerous chronic ailments for the people.

"Indeed, their safety issues cut across industries. And Nigerians are not really obeying the industrial safety laws. If you go round, you see it, both in the formal and the informal settings. So, we all have to be very mindful, careful and conscious about this," he said.

When asked his view about the recurring deaths of Nollywood stars, Commissioner Onyenji, regretted the trend of deaths, but, however, said it was not peculiar to the Nollywood industry alone. According to him, people in other fields of life in many places also die in their numbers on daily basis, while burial activities also go on in many communities on daily basis. He, however, explained that the deaths of Nollywood stars appear to ring bell and attract much attention public reactions, because of their celebrity status and because their deaths are publicized, unlike thousands of other unpublicized deaths of 'ordinary' individuals which occur at different places on daily basis.

He, however, described Junior Pope's death as an avoidable death, further regretting that even after he was rescued alive from the river, instead of being taken to the hospital for urgent medical attention, he was taken to a chief priest/deity of the river.

"These were all miscalculations. And at the end of the day, what happened happened. It is very painful and very unfortunate. And that is also how people die many avoidable deaths today," he said.

He further noted that the famous actor would be so dearly missed by many.

While commiserating with Nollywood industry, families, fans and friends of those who lost their lives in the boat mishap; the Commissioner further prayed for the peaceful repose of their souls and divine consolations of their loved ones, even as he reiterated his call on everyone to always be safety conscious, irrespective the condition involved or their level of trust on one's expertise.

2024-04-16 News