No fewer than 42 people were on Friday drowned in a boat mishap on River Niger close to Malilli Village in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 100 others on board were missing in the mishap which occurred at about 2 p.m.
The Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Hussaini, confirmed the incident in a telephone interview on Saturday.
Mr. Hussaini said the incident occurred around 2 pm when the traders were returning from Malili Village back to Tunga Illo Village across the River Niger, after the day’s market.
He said the details were sketchy, but the boat which had over 150 passengers capsized midway and drowned 42 people, while 100 others were missing.
The spokesman said that local divers from Malili Village had recovered 42 corpses, while efforts were being intensified to rescue possible survivors or
the corpse of those drowned.
“At the moment search and rescue is ongoing on the river.
“I will make the details of the incident later, but the agency has dispatch its officers to assist the villagers in the rescue efforts,’’ he said.
Mr. Hussaini said the recovered corpses would be given mass burial close to the river bank, adding that neighbouring villages had been alerted to look out for floating corpses.
The Secretary to the State Government, Saidu Ndako, confirmed the boat
“I received the information late in the night that a boat had capsized and 42 persons have drowned in the incident, while rescue operation is ongoing.
“We believe that the boat was overload because the boat’s capacity was put at 60 passengers, but over 150 passengers were said to be on board during the incident.
“The debris in the swollen river may also have been responsible for the incident,’’ Mr. Ndako said.
Mr. Ndako said that the government condoled with the family of those who had lost their loved ones, and pray that Allah grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.