Tinubu mourns victims of boat accidents in Niger, Adamawa, orders investigation

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has expressed sadness over the boat mishap in Mokwa Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State and two others in different locations in Adamawa State.

The incidents, which occurred in three different locations, tragically claimed many lives, including several children. In the Niger accident, 26 people were reported dead, while 15 lives were lost in the first incident in Yola, Adamawa state capital.

While the exact number of casualties of the second accident in Adamawa is still unconfirmed, a local source said divers had taken out 11 bodies from the water.

Tinubu’s condolence message was contained in a statement on Tuesday, September 12, by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale.

He demanded a “thorough and comprehensive investigation into the recurring tragedy of boat incidents across the nation” from the relevant authorities.

The accidents occurred at Njuwa Lake in Yola on September 9, in Mokwa, Niger State, on September 10, and in Gurin, the Fufore area of Adamawa State on September 11.

For the Niger incident, about 26 bodies have been recovered, while 44 are still missing. The boat mishap was reported to have occurred at about 8 a.m. on Sunday, between the Jabba and Kainji dams.

The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) confirmed that over 100 persons were on board the boat. The agency added that the victims, who were from Gbajibo, Ekwa, and Yankyade communities, were on the way to their farms located on the other side of the River Niger.

In Yola, a boat carrying 23 people capsized in Njuwa Lake, killing at least 15 people, the state’s emergency agency and witnesses said.

Bearly 72 hours after the incident, another boat capsized in a river, in Gurin, a suburb of Fufore Local Government Area of the state with many people onboard.

While expressing sympathy with the governments and people of Niger and Adamawa States, the President commended their swift action in mobilizing emergency response teams and volunteers to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the incidents. 

Tinubu also directed various government agencies, including law enforcement, maritime safety and transportation safety authorities, to collaborate to identify the root causes of the disasters.

“President Tinubu underscores his commitment to holding government agencies accountable for any regulatory or safety lapses and further instructs a comprehensive review of safety measures and strict enforcement of existing laws on boating activities in the country.

“The President assures the affected families and communities of the government’s continued support and his commitment to preventing such tragic incidents from occurring in the future,” the statement added.

The latest incident happened three months after a boat carrying families returning from a wedding sank in a river in Kwara State, resulting in the loss of over 100 lives.

The ICIR reports that over 100 persons drowned in Kwara state following a boat mishap on Monday, June 12, in the Patigi local government area of Kwara state.

The spokesperson of the state Police command, Ajayi Okasanmi, on June 26, said the boat was loaded with about 250 passengers, out of which 106 people died.

    “Among the casualties were people from Ebu Village with 61 casualties, Dzakan Village with 38, Kpada Village with four dead, and three other casualties from Kogi State, putting the total number of casualties at 106 and the total number of rescued people at about 144.”

    On June 27, The ICIR, also reported how a boat mishap claimed the lives of three medical students in Calabar, Cross River State.

    Thirteen medical students under the aegis of the Nigeria Medical Students Association (NiMSA) had on Saturday, June 24, boarded a boat at Marina Resort as part of their annual health week programmes. But the boat cruise turned tragic after the vessel capsized.

    Ten of the thirteen medical students were swiftly rescued by Naval officers, while the remaining three drowned.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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