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Police investigate, explore possible intent or negligence in Junior Pope, and others’ death

Nollywood actor, Junior Pope and some members were killed in a boat accident on River Niger in Anambra State as they returned from location for a filming schedule on Wednesday, 10 April. The police in Anambra State, South-east Nigeria, have begun an investigation to probe any criminal liability in the cause of death of Nollywood actor, John Paul Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope. Police spokesperson in Anambra State, Tochukwu Ikenga, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, 11 April. Ikenga, a superintendent of police, said the commissioner of police in the state, Aderemi Adeoye, ordered the investigation.

Initially, there was hope on Wednesday night following reports that the 39-year-old was resuscitated after being reported dead. However, the comfort was short-lived when the actor was confirmed dead in the following hours to that moment of anticipation. Hence, the police in Anambra State would determine in their investigation as they explore all possibilities of criminal liability leading to the boat accident with the police spokesperson saying their preliminary inquiry into the incident had given them “an insight” into the cause of the boat accident but did not reveal further details. Ikenga said, “Exhaustive investigation has been ordered by the Commissioner of Police with a view to determining criminal liability of any person, if any, in the mishap,”

However, there were also speculations from Junior Pope’s fans after his death was announced. It was alleged that some of his envious Nollywood colleagues might have played a role in his death. Some supporters also claimed that some Nollywood colleagues took him to a mortuary after his body was discovered, instead of first seeking medical attention for him.

But Ikenga said when the police were notified of the boat accident, some marine police operatives were deployed to the area and consequently rescued six actors and one actress from the water. “Two others who were unconscious were also pulled out with the aid of fishermen and conveyed to the Delta State Command Marine Police Jetty where other members of the crew who travelled in the first boat were waiting and handed over to the president of the Actors Guild for conveyance to the hospital while the rescue team went back in search of three others who are still missing as of the time of this release,” he said.

The police spokesperson also said although the accident happened within their jurisdiction in Anambra, the release of the bodies of the accident victims for burial is to be handled by the police in Delta State.




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