By Chukwuemeka Opara
The Police Command in Ebonyi has urged the state government to prohibit the use of the pond at the International Market, Abakaliki it said endangered children’s lives in recent times.
Dsp Jude Madu, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the command gave the advice on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki.
Madu was reacting to the recent drowning of Master Chinonso Nwokporo, a Senior Secondary School (SS1) student of Abakaliki High School inside the pond located at the Market.
“This is the third reported case of drowning inside the pond which claimed the lives of all victims; the best option is the permanent closure of the pond to public.
“The government, in the interim, can provide safety measures such as safety items and materials at the pond and similar measures at every stream, river, pond, lakes and other water sources in the state,” he further urged.
The PPRO also urged parents to monitor their children’s movement and watch the type of friends they keep to ensure their safety.
“Individuals living around the pond are mostly concerned with this advice as the command assures the public of the continued protection of their lives and property”.
Nwokporo’s corpse was found floating on the pond last week with blood gushing from mouth, ears and nose.
An eyewitness and friend of the deceased, Master Okechukwu Eze, told NAN that he and the deceased had gone to the pond to swim, as was the practice by the children within the vicinity.
“We went to the pond to swim, though none of us know how to swim, this made us to stay at the shallow part of the pond that people normally fetch water.
“Immediately we reached the pond, he plunged into it and later started shouting for help as I tried unsuccessfully to rescue him.
“I absent-mindedly jumped into the pond and started drowning but miraculously came out from it with the shouts of Jesus, but no help came for my friend,” he said.
He noted that a security man stationed at the market heard his shout but said he did not know how to swim, but rushed to Nwokporo’s house to inform his mother.
Contributing, Mr Ephraim Ononye, the Chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) also advised the state government to prevent further drowning in the pond through the provision of various security measures.