The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has confirmed the death of no fewer than 15 people in a boat mishap which occurred in Borgu Local Government Area of the state.
Many others are still missing in the boat accident, which our source said occurred when the victims were returning from Warrah market, a border community in Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State to Sabo Yumu in Borgu on Sunday evening.
According to the Director General of NSEMA, Alhaji Ibrahim Inga, the accident may be as a result of poor visibility due to bad weather, which caused the boat to run into a tree stump on river Malale midway into the journey.
“As we speak, 15 corpses have been recovered and already buried, while two others were rescued even as many are still missing,” he explained, adding that divers are still searching for other passengers.
He said the number of passengers on the boat can not yet be ascertained because “the boat was said to be filled to the brim.”
He, however, pointed out that “the boat was big and have capacity for over 50. Also, because it is market day, there is the tendency that it might be overloaded.”
According to him, some passengers were rescued, while divers are still searching for the remaining of the occupants.
He said the state government is working towards putting in place regulatory framework to check the activities of boat operators and also addressing the impediments that hamper their activities.
He also disclosed that government is looking at the possibility of providing life jackets in a bid to reduce the high casualties often recorded during accidents.
Boat mishaps have become a regular occurrence in the area with no fewer than five of such incidents in 2018 alone.
In 2017, eight people, mostly women and children, lost their lives in similar circumstances while returning to Malale from Warrah market in Kebbi State through the same route.