A boat mishap on River Niger near Malilli village in Borgu local government area of Niger State has claimed about 42 lives with over hundred people missing on Friday.
The boat conveying mostly women traders from Malili market to Tunga Illo village capsized at about 2.00 pm with all the passengers feared dead.
The cause of the mishap has not been ascertained as the details of the accident were still sketchy. Some traders who missed joining the boat claimed that the ill fated boat must have carried over 150 passengers.
A search and rescue team was launched immediately the news of the mishap got to Malili
Local swimmers from Malili and neighbouring villages have retrieved 42 bodies from the river as at noon time Friday, while efforts are being intensified to look for over 100 missing passengers.
Another rescue team was also dispatched for possible survivors along the bank of the river or the corpse of those, that were drowned.
Confirming the accident over telephone, the public relations officer of Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Hussaini, said a search and rescue operation was already in progress.
The Niger State governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has commiserated with the families of the victims of the boat mishap.
A statement signed by his chief press secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, stated that it was disheartening for such a tragedy to befall the state at a time when government is grappling with challenges to better the lot of the people.
The statement urged those involved in water transportation to be more careful especially during rainy season when water level is usually high.
It said the state’s emergency management agency has since deployed its officials to the scene of the mishap to ascertain the extent of losses incurred with a view to compensate families of the victims.