Oliver Mitchell
Mon, Sep 11, 2023 4:50 PM

Boat Accident in Niger State, Nigeria: Death Toll Rises to 28

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Boat Accident in Niger State, Nigeria: Death Toll Rises to 28
The death toll in a boat accident in Niger State, Nigeria, has reached 28, with dozens still missing. The tragic incident occurred in the remote Gbajibo community, leaving communities devastated and mobilizing in a search and rescue effort. The accident highlights the transportation challenges faced by many riverine communities in Nigeria, where rivers are often the main means of travel. This article delves into the details of the incident, the ongoing search for missing individuals, and the need for improved safety measures in the country's waterways.

ABUJA, Nigeria -- The death toll in the boat accident in north-central Nigeria's Niger State has risen to 28, emergency services said Monday, as communities mobilized in support of an intensified search for dozens still missing after the passenger boat capsized.

The boat capsized along the Niger River on Sunday morning with more than 100 villagers, mostly women and children, aboard. They were traveling to their farmlands in the Gbajibo community, located 251 kilometers (156 miles) from the state capital Minna, the closest source of emergency response.

It took several hours before help could reach the community because of its remote location, and villagers nearby were on the lookout for bodies floating on the river, Niger State Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ibrahim Audu told The Associated Press.

Divers recovered four more bodies from the river by Monday morning with at least 40 passengers believed to be still missing, Audu said. Thirty had been rescued.

"Instruction has been passed across all the communities surrounding that place so that some of them will watch out (for bodies)," he said.

Niger Gov. Mohammed Umaru Bago described the accident as "shocking and sorrowful" and directed the state emergency services to assist those affected, according to a statement issued by his office. He reiterated the importance of using life jackets and avoiding overcrowded boats.

Concerns remained about the regular and deadly boat accidents in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country where a number of remote and riverine communities do not have access to good roads, leaving rivers as the only available means of transportation.

It is still not clear what caused the latest accident but emergency services personnel said it could be as a result of overloading, the condition of the boat or a hindrance of the boat's movement along the water.

The boat accident in Niger State serves as a tragic reminder of the transportation challenges faced by many riverine communities in Nigeria. In a country where good road infrastructure remains limited in remote areas, rivers often become the only accessible transportation route.

These accidents underscore the urgent need for improved safety measures to prevent further loss of lives. While the exact cause of this particular incident is yet to be determined, potential factors such as overloading, poor boat condition, and navigational issues are areas that require thorough investigation.

The Nigerian government, as well as local authorities, should prioritize investments in improving transportation infrastructure in remote regions. This includes the establishment of proper docking facilities, regular maintenance checks for boats, and the implementation of safety regulations to prevent overcrowding.

Furthermore, public awareness campaigns should be conducted to educate communities about the importance of using life jackets and adhering to safety guidelines when traveling by boat. Training programs can also be initiated to equip boat operators with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the waters safely.

Efforts to enhance emergency response capabilities must also be intensified. Prompt rescue operations and the availability of emergency services can significantly reduce the loss of life in such incidents.

As the search for the missing individuals continues, affected communities must receive adequate support, both emotionally and materially. Access to counseling services and relief aid should be provided to help the affected families cope with their losses and rebuild their lives.

The boat accident in Niger State serves as a grim reminder that Nigeria's riverine communities face immense challenges in terms of transportation safety. It is imperative for the government, local authorities, and communities to come together to address these issues and work towards a safer future.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-11 News

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