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14 Jun, 2023 12:51

More than 100 die in Nigeria boat disaster

The country’s president has said he is "deeply saddened," pledging to address inland water transportation challenges
More than 100 die in Nigeria boat disaster

At least 103 people have drowned and several others remain missing after a boat capsized on the Niger River in southern Nigeria early on Monday, the police spokesman for the area told the media on Tuesday.

Local media reports that the victims, including a father and his four children, were returning from a wedding at Egboti village in Niger State. More than 300 passengers are reported to have been on the vessel. They were residents of Egbu, Dzakan, Kpada, Kuchalu, and Sampi, according to The Punch.

Ibrahim Umar Bologi II, the traditional ruler of Patigi, where the accident occurred, told journalists that river waves swamped the boat, causing it to crash into a tree that had washed into the water. He said a search and rescue operation was underway.

"So far, we have 103 people dead and over 100 rescued from the boat accident," Ajayi told AFP, adding that "the toll is likely to rise."

Nigeria's president, Bola Tinubu, said he was "deeply saddened" by the news and offered his condolences to the affected families.

Tinubu tasked the Kwara State government and relevant agencies with investigating the cause of the accident, while also calling for “immediate relief and necessary assistance” to be provided to the survivors and families of victims.

The president also pledged his administration would address inland water transportation challenges in the country, where boat mishaps are common in remote areas.

Last month, a boat overturned on the Dandeji River in Nigeria’s northwestern Sokoto State, killing 15 of the 36 passengers who were on board.