19 drown in Kwara boat mishap
No fewer than 19 children have drowned in a boat mishap on Saturday in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State. The boat, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt, was conveying the victims across River Niger for a traditional wedding ceremony in a community in Niger State.
The boat, conveying about 22 people mostly children, capsized while crossing the river. A source said that while two of the passengers were rescued, 19 others drowned and died. According to him, all effort to rescue other passengers proved abortive.
“As at Saturday evening, four bodies have been recovered from the river. Effort resumed yesterday morning to ensure that others also are found. Officers of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Fire Service were there on Saturday in the rescue mission. Unfortunately only two of them survived,” the source told NAN on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Sulyman Aliyu, secretary of the Lafiagi Traditional Council, confirmed the incident.
Aliyu told NAN that the number of the victims could not be ascertained yet, noting that there was a conflict in the number.
“Definitely they are up to 12. The figure is between 12 and 19 that you said.” The secretary also confirmed that four bodies were recovered on Saturday.
The Public Relations Officer of the Kwara Police Command, DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, also confirmed the incident. He told NAN that the officers of the force and other security agencies had joined the local government council to recover the bodies.
He, however, said that the number of the passengers and the victims could not yet be ascertained as the recovery exercise was still ongoing.
Meanwhile, local divers were at the weekend still searching for possible survivors after more than 64 persons were rescued, after a boat carrying about 140 passengers and crew capsized at Ibbi in Taraba State at midnight last Thursday.
The boat was returning from Dampar market with more than 140 traders, including women and children.
The boat was said to be overloaded when it hit a rock, and sank. Local divers rescued about 64 persons, while several others remain missing.