40 Rescued, 36 Die In Niger, Adamawa Boat Mishaps

Another fatal boat accident has claimed 26 lives in Mokwa local government area of Niger State.

The authorities however confirmed that 30 people were rescued.

Giving an update on the Adamawa incident yesterday, Dr Suleiman Mohammed of the State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA), who confirmed the figure to LEADERSHIP noted that 10 more persons were rescued, while 10 corpses were recovered from the canoe that capsized in the state at the weekend.

In the Niger disaster, LEADERSHIP gathered that those who were involved in the accident were mostly rice farmers from four communities in New Gbajibo going to their farms in Old Gbajibo around Jebba Dam.

It was also learnt that those who died were women and children who could not swim the distance when the boat capsized at about 7:30 am yesterday.

Confirming this to LEADERSHIP, the director-general of Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Malam Garba Salihu, said, “The agency has received a report of a boat mishap that occurred at about 7.30am to 8am this morning (10/9/2023) between Jabba and Kainji dam in Gbajibo of Mokwa local government area.

“At present, the agency in collaboration with the Mokwa local government area and the community local divers are conducting a search, rescue and recovery operation at the scene of the incident.

“So far, 26 corpses have been recovered, while over 30 have been rescued as the operation is ongoing. Over 100 persons were said to be on board the boat when the incident occurred.”

Salihu said the victims are from Gbajibo, Ekwa and Yankyade communities and were on the way to their farms on the other side of the River Niger in old Gbajibo.

Boat accidents are regular occurrences in Niger State.

A recent report by a national daily showed that Niger State, between 2013 and this year, had 24 boat accidents, which led to the death of over 332 persons, including women and children.

The report which covered January 2013 to June 2023 indicated that Niger, Rivers and Bayelsa States had the highest number of boat accidents. In coastal Rivers and Bayelsa States, there were over 557 deaths, with over 112 unaccounted for, as their bodies were never recovered.

Commenting on the Adamawa mishap, Mohammed said the rescue operation was jointly carried out by the agency officials, Red Cross, marine police and local divers.

He said one of the survivors was trapped by the nail of the canoe before she was rescued.

He added: “We cannot confirm exactly the number of people in the canoe as we were not with them when they embarked on the trip.

“The locals around the scene of the mishap, said the occupants of the canoe were 23 in numbers.

Earlier reports claimed that eight people died in the canoe accident while seven were missing.

Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, while commiserating with the families of the deceased, assured of government support to the victims.


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