I’d love taking expensive risk sometimes most especially when I travel for business. Although, I have phobia for water, but I dare devil most of the time and go through the rivers where most people always talked about or afraid of.
In the past, I’d almost lost my life in a deadly water accident. Hippopotamus overturned our wooden canoe in northern part of Cameroon, only 2 survived from 16 on board. I subsequently decided to stop traveling through this means not until recently; I traveled to know much about the most talked about “Ofe Idepe” in southern riverine part of ondo state.
Apart from the bad record of accident which at all time claim the 80% of the victim, mostly strangers and people of no knowledge of swimming, only the local fisher-man that control the wooden boat mostly survive the accidents. The river stretches from Bayelsa through Delta and edo state and Ondo state. It serves as an alternative route for travelers when you consider the time and distance through the road.
The river is so deep and this makes me to further my questions on how to recover the dead bodies of the victims of accident and how long it takes to recover them.
An elderly fisher man told me that sacrifices is the only option to recover the dead body of the victim for their family to see them for the last time before been buried along the banks of the river and he told me that no body of the victim has ever been whisked away from the river after sacrifices to the “goddess of the sea” “Iyemoja” or “Oluweri” to give them the dead victim and tradition mandates it that the body be buried along a shallow pit by the river bank. “I feel so sorry for the Dead”
Apart from the scary and deadly attribute of the river, I was told is also a home for wild cat fish which sometimes big and extend in length between 2-5ft with monetary value of about 26,000-37,000 Nigeria (Naira)for 1 fish. Although it’s not always this fish are been caught but the river is synonymous to the wide cat fish and the smaller cat fish are gotten on daily basis about (35cm minimum ) also big water snake can be seen along the trenches of the tree inside the river swamp during the hot days. But during my journey, I never come across any big water snake and the diver warns that taken the boat toward some trees area might cause accident because of the long root of the swamp trees. And it’s so amazing to see many crocodile along this river banks far from water ways where locals considered safe for passage of people and goods.
Unfortunately, I missed a festival dedicated by the locals to worship, praise and appeal to the goddess of the sea for fortune, wealth, good life, child and many more but I wish to secure an invitation before the next festival so I can follow the elders to the much sacred area of the river. So many gifts will be brought by the locals and throw inside the river at the end of the event. That was what I was told. And I will confirm soon.
It’s much faster passing through 4 states through this river rather than using the road. Although it’s scary and not very safe for strangers
Hint* I will update after the festival if I can make it.
Illegal functioning of this river: in the past, this narrow path leads to a more secret point of the river bank where illegal crude oil taken from south south state is dispatch into many trucks and head to unknown destination for refining but now the story has changed because there are so many surveillance and military presence which has curb the activities. Eye witness said at least 12 trucks load on a daily basis and sometimes lower than this number if there is signal of tight security measure.
After busy time, i stayed with the locals and enjoy fresh fish meal with them……