A devastating toll of 901 lives lost in 61 boat accidents has prompted President Bola Tinubu to order a thorough investigation into the root causes of these tragic events. The incidents occurred between January 2020 and September 2023, with various parts of Nigeria affected by these heart-wrenching accidents.
One particularly distressing occurrence took place in October 2022 in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State when a boat carrying approximately 85 passengers capsized, resulting in the tragic loss of 76 lives. Most of the victims were women and children, fleeing their community due to flooding.
In another grievous incident, which unfolded in May 2021, a boat transporting passengers to the market broke apart between Kebbi and Niger states. Only 20 people were rescued, while over 150 individuals went missing.
The toll of these accidents continued to mount, with 15 children drowning and 25 others missing when a boat capsized in a river in Sokoto state in May 2023. Additionally, eight lives were tragically lost in an accident in Gusau, Zamfara, in the same month.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, expressed his condolences to the governments and people of Adamawa and Niger States, where recent boat accidents had claimed numerous lives. He questioned the sea-worthiness of some vessels operating on Nigeria’s waters and attributed overloading and the absence of safety vests as significant factors contributing to these accidents. Senator Eshinlokun-Sanni stressed the urgency of enforcing safety regulations along the nation’s inland waterways to prevent further maritime fatalities.
President Bola Tinubu extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims who had lost their lives in recent boat mishaps. The tragedies occurred in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State and Gurin village in Fufore LGA of Adamawa State, with several children among the casualties.
In a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu called for a comprehensive investigation into the recurring boat incidents across the nation. He expressed his commitment to holding government agencies accountable for any regulatory or safety lapses and instructed a comprehensive review of safety measures and strict enforcement of existing laws governing boating activities in Nigeria.
The President assured affected families and communities of the government’s unwavering support and dedication to preventing such tragic incidents from occurring in the future. He also wished a swift recovery to those injured in these unfortunate accidents and commended the swift response of emergency teams and volunteers in Niger and Adamawa States.