Sunday, 6 October 2013

Boat mishap claims 18 lives in Niger

Barely six days after a boat mishap which occurred in Malili village in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State claimed 26 lives, another one has occurred leaving no fewer than 18 persons dead.

The mishap which occurred on the River Niger involved a boat conveying people from the weekly Thursday market from Kokoli to Ulakami at about 4pm.

The boat was said to be conveying about 80 people when it split into two and the passengers in it were thrown into the river.

A survivor, Umar Ibrahim, said they were in the middle of the 10 kilometres journey when the boat they were in split throwing all the passengers into the water.

“We had just gotten to the middle of the journey when the boat split into two and people started screaming and and falling into the water,” he said.

Ibrahim stated that he was able to rescue about 10 people all whom were women and children, adding that the men could take care of themselves and if not for the rescue, the casualty rate would have been higher.

He added that but for the intervention of other boat captains and their passengers who could swim, it would have been a disaster as he was not sure he too would have survived it because the bank of the river was far away.

Some villagers who spoke with journalists attributed the accident to unnatural causes, saying “the river is angry because it has not been given its yearly sacrifice.”

But others maintained that the boat was too old and had, obviously, not been adequately maintained.

He added that the other boat drivers rushed towards them while they put the people they rescued into the boats, they also got into some when they got tired. The village head, Mohammed Garba, confirmed that after the incident, they went round to find out how many people were missing and they got 18.

He added that rescue operation could not start immediately as there was a heavy down pour, adding that the next morning, villagers went and discovered some bodies while some are still missing.

“Eighteen of our people were victims of the unfortunate incident last night and because of the heavy rain, we could not do anything until this morning. At about 10am, we had recovered 10 bodies, by afternoon, we recovered two while the last one was recovered at about 7.30pm just before you came in,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu on Disaster and Emergency Management, Alhaji Mohammed Saba, has commiserated with the people of the community on behalf of the state government.

He confided in Sunday Tribune that the state government had donated N500, 000 for the burial of the 18 victims whose remains had been recovered.

Exactly one week ago, about 30 persons drowned on the River Niger at Malili village in the same local government area. One hundred and fifty people were on board that boat.

Sunday 6 October 2013


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