Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State yesterday offered to pay N5 million as reward to anyone with useful information leading to the source of the unidentified corpses discovered floating on the Ezu River on Saturday.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Obi visited the Ezu River in Amansea, a border town with Enugu State, the scene where the corpses were still floating yesterday.
Members of the Amansea community, near Awka, had woken up Saturday morning to discover 15 corpses afloat the river bordering Anambra and Enugu States.
Obi described the discovery as "mindless killing" and dumping of the corpses as "barbaric and shocking."
"What happened here is unacceptable in any decent society. Human life and blood is sacred and all of us must respect the sanctity of human life," Obi said.
Obi, who was accompanied by the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Bala Nassarawa, and other top government officials, urged the people to remain calm as the state governments were on top of the situation.
"The police have been directed to move in their homicide teams and recover the bodies," he said.
In a related development, the state Deputy Police Public Relations Officer (DPPRO), Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, yesterday confirmed that only 18 bodies were removed from the Ezu River of Amansea in the state.
Chukwuemeka, who made the confirmation in Awka, said specifically that "as at Sunday, 18 bodies were found at the time of evacuation," according to the NAN.
Meanwhile, evacuation of the bodies begun at about 4 p.m. yesterday with a discovery of three additional corpses, bringing the total number to 18.
The evacuation was done by some officials in traditional canoes, who moved around the river retrieving bodies to a designated place, apparently for mass burial.
Also on duty for the evacuation were pathologists from the Police and state government, who were expected to carry out autopsy on some of the bodies retrieved.
A check further reveals that the state government has started supplying water to the residents of Amansea, who hitherto depended on the polluted Ezu River for their routine water needs.
Some articulated vehicle water tankers were stationed in strategic areas in Amansea, supplying water to the needy people.
The State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mrs Azuka Enemuo, confirmed the evacuation exercise and water supply.
"We will commence drilling of boreholes on Monday to further ameliorate the water plights of the community."
However, residents of the two neighbouring communities have raised concerns about the health consequences of allowing the corpses to pollute the river, which they depend on for domestic use and economic activities.
Chief Benjamin Onwuneme, a resident of Amansea, said the people depended on the river for a number of economic activities, including fishing and sand excavation.