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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Producer reveals the cause of Junior Pope’s death after remaining silent for some time

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Movie producer, Adanma Luke, has broken her silence on the boat accident that occurred during her new movie shoot in Delta State, claiming the lives of popular Nollywood actor, John Paul Odonwodo, and four others

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that Mr Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope, and four other actors drowned after their boat capsized in Anam River in Anambra State on Wednesday while returning from the location of the movie shoot.

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) had earlier said 12 individuals were on the ill-fated boat.

NIWA added that of the 12, seven were successfully rescued, two found dead, including Mr Odonwodo while three others – two females and one male – were declared missing.

The police in Anambra State, Friday, said they had recovered bodies of the three missing Nollywood stars.

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Real reason

Mrs Luke, in her first public comment on the incident in a video clip she posted online on Saturday, blamed the death of Junior Pope, on his refusal to use a life jacket during the boat travel.

“On that shooting day, I saw my director. I saw Emeka. They were outside. My director was wearing a life jacket. Emeka, the D.O.P. was on a life jacket. There was still one other jacket which I don’t know who took it,” she said in a video clip uploaded on her Instagram handle on Saturday.

Continuing, the filmmaker said, “My production manager said they saw one life jacket hanging there. So, they took it. He even told the late Friday to send one (live jacket) to Junior Pope but Junior Pope said it was dirty and so, he didn’t take it. These people with life jackets survived (the boat accident).

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“And they also told me that when they were in the water trying to survive, the Junior Pope was there asking if everybody was Okay. And that they even threw a gallon to him to use and hold himself which he was holding. But all of a sudden, they didn’t see him again.”

She did not, however, confirm if four other crew members who died in the boat accident were not putting on life jackets during the incident.

AGN’s moves

The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) had declared Thursday as ‘No Shoot Day’ for all Nollywood filmmakers, and suspended movie production involving riverine areas indefinitely, following the death of actor Junior Pope and others.

Making the declaration in a statment on Thursday, Emeka Rollas, National President of AGN, also announced the suspension of the production of the movie which led to the accident, ‘The other side of Life’, produced by Adamma Luke.

“Following the tragic incident of a boat mishap that claimed the life of Junior Pope and three other crew members at waterside of River Niger Cable point Asaba on 10th of April, all films that involve riverine areas and boat riding is hereby suspended indefinitely.

“No Shoot on all locations nationwide on Thursday, 11th April 2024 and the film titled ‘The other side of Life’ is suspended indefinitely,” the statement said.

It also barred actors from dealing with the movie producer for the time being.

“Also, no actor is allowed to work with Adamma Luke as a producer till further notice, while we keep searching for the bodies of the remaining persons,” he said.

The police in Anambra State, South-east Nigeria, have also begun an investigation to unravel any criminal liability in the cause of death of John Pope and others.

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