The National Emergency Management Agency Of Nigeria (NEMA) has reported that no fewer than eight people have died and seven hospitalized in Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi when a boat carrying 150 passengers returning from Malali Market capsized along River Niger. The accident occurred at about 6.30 pm on Friday, April 14 towards the end of the journey. The Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), in-charge of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, Alhaji Sulaiman Muhammad, confirmed this in Ngaski on Saturday.
He said that rescue efforts were coordinated with the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and several local fishermen.
“As soon as we had got the hint of the mishap, we put a call to the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority to help rescue the missing passengers.All the people on board were missing, but as rescue and search continue wide and deep of the river intensified, 14 people have been discovered; seven died and seven have been taken to Ngaski Hospital.”
He said the accident occurred when the boat on transit carrying 150 passengers hit a large log in the water and capsized.
Garba Hassan, the sole administrator of Ngaski LGA, also said eight people had so far died and that the toll is expected to increase.
Hamza Dogonhaske who survived the accident, said the boat broke into two midway after hitting a stump. He said he could confirm that four female and three male passengers died.
“The boat was not speeding and had attempted to make emergency turn away from the stump.The wooden boat hit the stump and broke into two. Some us who know how to swim and nearby boats were able to rescue many who could not swim.”
Ngaski Local Government Area is two hours journey from the river where the incident happened. Ngaski is a Local Government Area in Kebbi State, Nigeria, on the shores of Kainji Lake. Its headquarters are in the town of Wara.
Only a week ago, at least seven persons died in a boat mishap along Bonny, in Bonny local government area of Rivers State. Among the dead persons were four adults and three children, while some were missing. The incident occurred when the passengers were traveling from Port Harcourt to Bonny. A native of Bonny, who identified himself as Anderson Ama, confirmed the number of casualties as seven.
He called on Federal and state governments to construct a bridge linking Bonny and Bodo City to reduce number of accident and attack along the Bonny waterway.
He said: “We believe that if we have a bridge linking Bonny and Bodo, all these risks of boat mishap, sea pirates’ attacks and other criminal activities will reduce. We are appealing to Federal and state governments to construct the bridge to reduce the risk of traveling by sea. Wave along Bonny Sea is always high and passengers cannot continue to risk their lives. This is also affecting the economy of the area.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the incident.