Women, children major casualties in Niger boat accident – NSEMA

A tree stomp inside the Jabba Dam River was responsible for the boat accident, which led to the death of 30 people in Niger State on Monday, according to the Niger State Emergency Management Agency.

Tragedy struck Niger State on Sunday when a boat fully loaded with over 100 persons believed to be farmers capsized in Mokwa Local Government Area. 30 passengers were killed while 30 others were rescued.

The state government on Monday conducted a mass burial of the deceased victims.

The spokesman for NSEMA, Hussaine Ibrahim, who disclosed the cause of the boat accident to PUNCH Metro on Tuesday in a telephone interview, said the state government would assist the families that lost their loved ones with either cash or food items.

“You know, the people stay upstream of Jebba Dam and the river was recently dredged to create more space. In the process of this dredging, there were some trees that were cut down but not completely, they call them tree stumps inside water.

“So, when the water rises, you will not see these tree stumps. If you begin to move with your boat sometimes, you will not see them. The boat had a collision with a tree stump and it was what caused the breakage of the boat and caused it to capsize,” he said.

Ibrahim said the rescue operation had ended and officials of the agency went round the communities to find out if there were persons that were not rescued.

“Search and rescue has ended and nobody has complained that their person is missing. We went round all the houses and nobody is complaining that their person is missing.

“It is not all of them that were rescued. Some people were on their own swam out because they were already close to the river bank. So, some of them swam on their own. Those who could not swim were mainly children and some women who had children on their back.

“We are not concerned about the survivors; they are still alive, it’s going to be the second phase. The first people we are concerned about now are those who lost their loved ones, to cushion the effect. Then we’ll now go to the second phase of providing relief assistance to those that survived,” he said.

Ibrahim explained some of the measures the government is putting in place to forestall the reoccurrence of boat accident in the state and some agencies they are collaborating with to provide life jackets and new boats,” Ibrahim said.

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