Twenty people have lost their lives in a boat accident that happened in the state of Rivers.
The unfortunate event transpired on Tuesday night in the Andoni waterways in the Andoni Local Government Area of the State. It is alleged that two passenger boats were on their way to Bonny, a nearby coastal council area.
Erastus Awortu, the executive chairman of Andoni LGA, revealed the occurrence in a statement he signed early on Wednesday, January 10, in Port Harcourt. He expressed his rude amazement at the tragedy and offered his condolences to the victims’ families and communities.
Awortu regretted that the fatal accident occured after successful festive celebrations, including unity carnivals in the council area.
He noted the council’s efforts to save those who were alive, offer first aide assistance to the injured and recover bodies of the dead from the river; as he promised to cushion the pains of the deceased families and communities in this their trying moments.
Furthermore, the council chairman harped on the need for boat operators to insist on total compliance of all passengers to safety measures, and warned against night travels by sea.
The statement said: “We received with rude shock and deep pain a disturbing report that over 20 persons from Andoni are feared dead in boat mishap involving two Andoni/Bonny-bound boats which occurred within the Andoni waterways on Tuesday January, 9, 2024.
“Upon receiving the sad development, we immediately dispatched our team to join the first responders on rescue mission at the scene of the incident in a bid to salvage the situation.
“We are closely monitoring the situation to offer further support especially to give the survivors necessary medical attention and recover the remains of the dead from the Sea.
“Our hearts go out to the Families and Communities of victims of this unfortunate disaster especially Ngo Town, Ataba, Isiama and other Communities whose loved ones where involved in the boat mishap.
“We share in their pain and trauma, our prayers and thoughts are with them in this moment of grief.
“We will do whatever we can as a Local Government to reduce the burden of grief of the bereaved families and communities.
“While we bemoan the boat mishap which came at a time when our people were still basking in the mood of a successful festive season in Andoni, we call on operators of water transportation in Andoni to ensure strict compliance of all passengers to safety rules.
“We also warn the operators to desist from embarking on night journey on sea.”