Yesterday morning, at least 26 persons were reported dead while 30 others were rescued from a capsised boat ferrying over 100 persons in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State. This adds to the figure of over 150 locals who drowned in the last two years in the northcentral state.
According to reports, the victims mostly women and children from Gbajibo, Ekwa and Yankyade were going to their farming activities heading to old Gbajobo aboard the ill-fated boat when the incident happened.
WikkiTimes learnt that a rescue operation was ongoing by a combined team of marine police, and local drivers in collaboration with officials of Niger State Emergency Management Agency.
OVER 150 DROWNED IN TWO YEARS
According to National Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA), over 100 persons drowned in Niger State in 2021. The casualty figure significantly reduced the following as only 29 deaths were recorded.
The latest incident brought the figure to over 150.
NIWA attributed the previous’s year reduction to the cutting of tree stocks on the waterfront.
Dr. George Moghalu, NIWA’s Managing Director disclosed this during the commissioning of PB Port Harcourt Fibre Patrol, a Surveillance Boat at the Malale Waterfronts, Borgu Local Government Area of the state.
Reacting to the recent event, Umaru Mohammed Bago, the state governor sympathised with the families of the victims and warned people in the riverine areas to desist from overcrowding boats and always use life-saving jackets in case of emergencies.
His Chief Press Secretary, Balogi Ibrahim, in a statement, said the governor was shocked over the incident.
“This is quite a shocking and sorrowful situation to the people of the affected communities and I share in their sorrow,” he had said, praying that “Allah will grant the deceased Aljannah Firdausi.”