One Accident Too Many On Waterways In Niger State
Recently, Niger State witnessed another boat mishap that claimed 11 lives. The accident took place at Gbara on the inland waterways linking Lavun and Mokwa local government areas of the state.
Some of the survivals of the boat mishap at Gbara, gave a gory story of their experiences, as they returned from Danchitangi Market in Lavun local government area of the state.
Most of the passengers who boarded the boat going to Gbara area from the market en route to the highland, are from Gazhe in Edati local government area.
A woman, Amina Mohammed who survived with two of her children, said the timely intervention of the local divers spared their lives.
She explained that they were already drowning when they were rescued in the evening of that fateful day.” I passed out in the process of even trying to rescue my children, but thank God the fishermen ( local divers) rescued most of us.”
Another survival of the boat mishap Hadiza Nasir, said they were not provided with life jackets. ” I thank God we survived, but those who sat near us, their lifeless bodies were later recovered. That experience is indeed a sorry one to recall.”
Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, described the incident as tragic and unfortunate even as 37 of the 48 travelers on the boat were rescued.
He expressed gratitude to the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), and members of the riverine community for their efforts in the search operations and for rescuing some of the victims.
While commiserating with the family members of the deceased, the Governor directed relevant Agencies to take necessary steps to avert a recurrence.
The boat mishap is one of many witnessed in recent months in the state which has claimed several lives and properties worth millions.
The mishap is recorded on waterways on River Niger in Borgu, Mokwa, , and Lavun local government areas as well as on River Kaduna in Shiroro local government area of the state.
Mostly affected are women and children either coming back from the markets or farms and they are those who struggle to survive the harsh economy.
Due to this, he state government has made wearing life jackets compulsory on waterways. Just this month the inland waterway Authority, the Hydro Power Producing Area Development Commission (HYPPADDEC),distributed life jackets at Borgu for the people.
Recently the Etsu Nupe and chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in Niger State, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, flagged off the distribution of 1,000 life jackets donated by HYPPADEC to riverine communities in his Emirate.
Etsu Nupe said the gesture will go a long way in saving further loss of lives.
He warned boat operators to always drive with caution and ensure all passengers put on their life jackets before boarding. He charged district heads and village heads in the Emirate, to ensure that the life jackets are distributed fairly among the beneficiaries and enforced.
Abu Nmodu contributed this article from Minna, Niger state