Kwara boat carrying over 300 people capsized

A Boat ferrying about 300 people has capsized on the River Niger around Patigi in Kwara State, North Central Nigeria.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday as they were returning to Ebbu village after a wedding ceremony in Gboti community.

A resident of Patigi, Malam Isah Gimba, told newsmen that the bodies of 15 people had so far been recovered out of the about 300 on board.

The latest information from the Kwara State Police Command’s Spokesman SP Ajayi Okasanmi confirmed that so far 103 dead bodies have been recovered.

According to him, “over 100 people survived in the disaster which included young children.”

SP Okasanmi told VON that “the list of all the survivals would be published immediately after their names are confirmed by the police.”

In a related interview, the TIC Chairman of Patigi Local government, Alhaji Mohammed Liman said “Over 110 dead bodies had been recovered.”

According to him, “Out of the number, about 60 died in a single community.”

The Chairman who was in a sorrowful mood confirmed that over 270 people were in the boat that capsized.

Alhaji Liman said, “An investigation into the remote cause of the incident would be carried out to forestall a repeat of such tragedy and huge loss.”

According to him, “he would meet the Etsu Patigi on Wednesday over the incident.”

The Secretary, of Patigi Local Government Area, Malam Idris Mohammed said; “The Council has mobilised people to support the survivors who cut across Zakkan in Kwara and Sanpi village in neighbouring Kogi State.”

He, however, advised people residing in riverine areas to desist from night journeys as the River Niger may overflow its banks from time to time due to heavy downpours.

Another source also said that the boat was carrying over 300 passengers on the return trip from the venue of the marriage before it capsized at Egbu village.

The Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Bologi in a chat with VON described the incident as ‘a big and great loss not only to their families but all the affected communities, the state and even the entire nation.’

The Monarch prayed Allah to grant the deceased eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Meanwhile, the Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has commiserated with the people of Patigi on the devastating news of a boat mishap in which dozens of people were feared killed and many others still missing.

“The Governor is sad to receive reports of the boat accident involving several people, particularly residents of Ebu, Dzakan, Kpada, Kuchalu, and Sampi, all in Patigi,” according to a government statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye on Tuesday.

“The Governor sends his heartfelt condolences to the people of these communities and those from other states. He prays to Almighty Allah to repose the souls of the victims.

“The Governor, meanwhile, continues to monitor the rescue efforts already mounted since Monday night in search of possible survivors. He commends the alertness of the Etsu Patigi His Royal Highness, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Bologi II and other local government authorities for the efforts to save as many people as possible who may have survived the mishap,” the statement reads.

Also, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman of Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari has described the boat accident as unfortunate and disheartening.

This is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Emir’s spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona.

Alhaji Sulu-Gambari who extended the condolences of the entire members of the Kwara State Traditional Rulers Council to the Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim Bologi II, the government and people of the state over the incident prayed for the families of victims of the boat mishap for God’s absolute comforts at this trying time.

“Our hearts and prayers are with you at this auspicious moment and may Almighty Allah give you all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss this incidence might cause you,” the Emir said.

He prayed Allah to grant the deceased eternal rest with mercies and forgiveness and give their loved ones the fortitude to bear the great loss.

VON Correspondent gathered that families of the deceased had embarked on the mass burial of their loved ones while the search for possible survivors is still ongoing.

The latest boat mishap is only one of several such disasters that have rocked the country this year.

Also on Tuesday, at least 15 children drowned and 25 others were declared missing when a boat in which they were travelling capsized in an area in Sokoto State.

The area’s political administrator, Aliyu Abubakar made this known on Tuesday.

An eyewitness told newsmen that the boat had been attempting to cross to Mashayan Dundeje Village to collect firewood when the disaster struck.

In 2023 alone, states such as Bayelsa and Niger have also experienced several ghastly boat mishaps.

Source: VON

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