More than 100 people have lost their lives in a devastating boat accident in north central Nigeria. The incident occurred in Kwara State as a boat carrying families who were returning from a wedding sank in a river.
“Local authorities and police confirmed the tragic event and stated that details were still emerging. Boat accidents are unfortunately common in Nigeria due to factors such as overloading, lax safety procedures, and heavy flooding during the rainy season.”
“The boat was transporting passengers from a wedding in neighboring Niger State when it capsized, according to local police and the Kwara governor’s office. The cause of the accident has not been determined yet. “So far, we have recorded 103 fatalities, and over 100 individuals have been rescued from the boat accident,” stated Okasanmi Ajayi, the Kwara State police spokesman, during a telephone interview with AFP. He further added that search and rescue operations were ongoing, implying that the death toll may rise.”
“The Kwara State governor’s office expressed condolences to the affected communities and confirmed that the victims were returning from a wedding ceremony in Kwara’s Patigi district. The office reported that the governor was closely monitoring the rescue efforts, which began on Monday night, in the hopes of finding survivors.”
“Tragically, river accidents of this nature are not uncommon in Nigeria. In a similar incident last month, 15 children drowned and 25 others went missing when their overloaded boat capsized in northwest Sokoto State while they were collecting firewood. Almost a year before that, 29 children from a nearby village drowned in the same river during a trip to gather firewood for their families.”
“Nigeria’s poor road infrastructure and the prevalent issue of kidnapping for ransom along some highways have made river boat travel a common mode of transportation and trade in the country. The Niger River, serving as West Africa’s primary waterway, runs in a crescent shape from Guinea to Nigeria’s Niger Delta, acting as a crucial trade route for several nations.”
“The National Inland Waterways Authority of Nigeria has attempted to address the issue by banning night-time sailing on rivers and considering overloading ships as a criminal offense. However, these regulations are often disregarded by skippers and crews.”