Over 100 Lives Lost As Boat Sinks In Kwara

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A devastating boat accident in Kwara State has left more than 100 individuals dead after a boat carrying families returning from a wedding sank in a river.

Over 100 Lives Lost As Boat Sinks In Kwara
Local authorities and the police have confirmed the distressing incident. This incident is the latest boat tragedy in Nigeria where river capsizes are common due to overloading, lax safety procedures, and heavy flooding in the rainy season.

While further details surrounding the accident are still emerging, it has been revealed that the ill-fated boat was ferrying passengers from a wedding ceremony in neighboring Niger State.

The boat sank on its journey in Kwara State, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. The local police, as well as the Kwara governor’s office, have expressed their condolences to the affected families.

Mr. Okasanmi Ajayi, the spokesperson for the Kwara State police, provided an update on the tragic incident, stating, “So far, we have recorded 103 fatalities, with over 100 individuals rescued from the boat accident.”

He further added, “Search and rescue operations are still underway, indicating that the casualty count may unfortunately rise.”

The governor’s office of Kwara State released a statement acknowledging the loss of life.

“The governor is deeply saddened by the reports of the boat accident involving several people, particularly residents of Ebu, Dzakan, Kpada, Kuchalu, and Sampi, all in the Patigi district,” the statement conveyed. “The governor expressed heartfelt condolences to the communities affected by this tragic event.”

“The governor has been closely monitoring the ongoing rescue efforts since Monday night, demonstrating a strong commitment to saving as many lives as possible.

The statement from the governor’s office also commended the vigilance of the Etsu Patigi, His Royal Highness Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Bologi II, and local government authorities for their tireless efforts in aiding potential survivors of this unfortunate mishap.

Regrettably, such river accidents have become distressingly common in Nigeria. In a similar incident last month, 15 children drowned, while 25 others went missing after an overloaded boat capsized in northwest Sokoto State as they were on their way to collect firewood.

Additionally, almost a year ago, another 29 children from a neighboring village lost their lives in the same river while on a firewood-collecting trip for their families.

In December of last year, during a period of extensive flooding in southeastern Anambra State, at least 76 individuals perished when their boat sank in a swollen river. These tragedies highlight the urgency for enhanced safety measures and regulations regarding river travel in Nigeria.

Given the challenges of poor road infrastructure and the prevalent issue of kidnapping for ransom along certain highways, riverboat transportation for both travel and trade has become commonplace in Nigeria.

The Niger River, which runs in a crescent shape through Guinea to Nigeria’s Niger Delta, serves as West Africa’s primary waterway and a crucial trade route for several countries.

Despite efforts by Nigeria’s National Inland Waterways Authority to prohibit nighttime sailing on rivers and declare the overloading of ships a criminal offense, skippers and crews frequently disregard these regulations.

It is imperative for all stakeholders to address these safety concerns promptly and ensure that necessary measures are implemented to prevent further loss of life in future river accidents across Nigeria.

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