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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Nigerian died 'in TV challenge'
Nigeria's Gulder Ultimate Search logo
Previous winners have become national celebrities
The contestant who died in a Nigerian reality television programme drowned taking part in one of its challenges, police have told the BBC.

Anthony Ogadje, 25, died last Saturday during the filming of the first episode of the show in central Plateau State.

Local police commissioner Charles Akaya said Mr Ogadje had been crossing a lake in a boat, when he fell in and drowned.

The programme's sponsors have refused to say how Mr Ogadje died, as they are waiting for a post-mortem.

"They were in a canoe on the lake when an item that belonged to him fell into the water and he tried to retrieve it but fell overboard and drowned," Mr Akaya told the BBC News website.

Graduate

The "Gulder Ultimate Search" has now been suspended indefinitely, a spokesman for the programme's sponsor, Nigerian Breweries, told the BBC News website.

All attempts to revive him by the attendant medical team and the life-guards, including his fellow contestants, failed
Nigerian Breweries
"The programme was already on when he died. But we have suspended everything for now out of respect for the deceased," Chuma Igwe said.

Mr Ogadje had just graduated from Delta State University with a bachelor's degree in Geology.

He and the other nine contestants had gone to Shere Hills Lake in Jos to begin filming for the first episode of the "Gulder Ultimate Search 4".

"All attempts to revive him by the attendant medical team and the life-guards, including his fellow contestants, failed," said Nigerian Breweries, which is majority-owned by Heineken.

The challenges often include swimming or wading through rivers and tramping through forests to look for clues that lead to a hidden treasure.

Celebrities

The selection requirements for participants include physical fitness, the ability to endure tough terrains and swim where swimming is involved.

map
Broadcasting of the reality television show had been due to start on Thursday.

In the show, the weakest contestants are evicted one by one until a winner or "the last man standing" emerges.

The winner gets 5 million naira ($39,000) in cash, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) and another 500,000 naira ($4,000) to buy clothes.

The prize money is a big attraction in a country where most people live in extreme poverty and benefit little from Nigeria's oil wealth.

Previous winners have become celebrities, attracting sponsorship deals from corporate organisations.

The "Gulder Ultimate Search", which started three years ago, normally gets high ratings.

Gulder is the name of a local Nigerian beer.


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