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24 drown, others missing as boat capsizes in Niger



Boat mishap

A boat accident has claimed the lives of 24 people and left others missing in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State.

PUNCH learnt that the incident which occurred on Sunday afternoon has left the affected communities in mourning as the indigenes are searching for the whereabouts of their loved ones.

It is still sketchy the number of persons that boarded the ill-fated boat at the time of filling this report.

Also, the cause of the boat mishap is still unknown although sources around the area said the passengers were not wearing any life jackets when the accident occurred.

Chairman of the Mokwa Local Government Area, Jibrim Muregi, who confirmed the boat mishap in a telephone interview said divers were making efforts to rescue more victims or recover more bodies.

Muregi confirmed that 21 dead bodies were recovered, and three community members of Gbajibo, Ekwa and Yankeiade were affected.

Meanwhile, the state Governor, Mohammed Bago, has expressed shock at the loss of lives through a boat accident that claimed scores of lives in Niger State.

He called for the use of life jackets for anybody boarding a boat in his state and condemned overcrowding in a boat.

The governor made this known on Sunday in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Bologi Ibrahim, in which the governor described the accident as both terrible and undesirable.

According to the statement, the accident occurred in communities between the Jebba and Kainji dams in the Mokwa Local Government Area of the state.

Bago said, “This is quite a shocking and sorrowful situation to the people of the affected communities and I share in their sorrow. I pray that Allah will grant the deceased Aljannah Firdausi”.

While commiserating with the families of the victims, the Governor directed the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, to do the needful to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.