According to police and local authorities, more than 100 people died in north central Nigeria after a boat carrying a family leaving a wedding drowned in a river.
It was the most recent boat catastrophe in Nigeria, where river capsizes are frequent due to overloading, low safety practices, and significant flooding during the rainy season. Details regarding the accident in Kwara State remain to come to emerge.
Several stranded wedding guests had resorted to using a boat to cross the river from nearby Egboti village in Niger State to Kpada as a result of heavy rains that had flooded the roads, according to Abdul Gana Lukpada, a traditional chief in Kpada, in Patigi district of north-central Kwara State, which is located along the banks of the river Niger.
According to Lukpada, the disaster occurred in the early hours of Monday. The boat, which was reportedly carrying up to 300 people, capsized after colliding with a tree trunk.
A wedding took place in a nearby community, Egboti, which is located by the Niger River. When it rains, the community’s terrain is horrible. Those who attended the ceremony by motorcycle were unable to leave the neighborhood after the ceremony due to the rain. To get people out of Egboti, they decided to utilize a large boat, he recalled.
Up to 300 people, both men, and women from different communities, were on board. It happened on Monday about three or four in the morning. The boat broke in two when it crashed against a tree branch that was submerged in the water as they were sailing. Due to the large amount of water, the passengers were carried away. Only 53 of them, I’m told, managed to flee. “The rest are thought to be dead,” he continued.
Image Credit: George Clerk
The incident was referred to as “a big tragedy” by the village chief, who also said, “I lost four of my neighbors.” Okasanmi Ajayi, a spokeswoman for the Kwara State police, told AFP over the phone that “so far we have 103 people dead and over 100 people rescued from the boat accident.”
“Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing, so the death toll is probably going to go up.” The victims had been travelling back from a wedding ceremony to Kwara’s Patigi district, according to the governor’s office in Kwara State, which did not provide a death toll.
The statement read, “The Governor is saddened to learn about the boat disaster involving a number of persons, especially inhabitants of Ebu, Dzakan, Kpada, Kuchalu, and Sampi, all in Patigi. The Governor offers the residents of these communities his sincere sympathies.
The children were on their way to gather firewood when their overloaded boat overturned in northwest Sokoto State, killing 15 of them and leaving another 25 missing.
A year almost to the day, 29 other kids from a nearby village drowned in the same river while going to gather firewood for their families. At least 76 individuals perished after their boat capsized in a swollen river in southeast Anambra State during severe flooding during the rainy season last December.
In Nigeria, riverboat travel for trade and transportation is prevalent because of the country’s inadequate road infrastructure and the prevalence of abduction for ransom along several roadways.