In a devastating incident, more than 100 individuals have tragically drowned, with many others still unaccounted for, as a boat capsized on the River Niger in south-western Nigeria. The ill-fated vessel was transporting over 300 passengers who were returning from a wedding ceremony in Kwara state to Niger state.
Rescue teams are actively engaged in search operations to locate additional victims, as confirmed by authorities. According to a local traditional ruler, the boat collided with a tree before capsizing.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara state expressed his deep condolences, acknowledging the grim possibility of dozens of fatalities and numerous individuals remaining missing. The Emir of Patigi, Ibrahim Umar Bologi II, stated that the death toll has surpassed 150, attributing the incident to powerful river waves that caused the boat to crash into a tree carried by the current.
As search and rescue efforts persist, a spokesperson for the Kwara state police informed AFP news agency that the death toll is anticipated to rise. Governor AbdulRazaq extended heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims, while emphasizing that rescue operations are ongoing in the quest to find survivors.
Tragic accidents on the River Niger are unfortunately not uncommon. Many residents residing in the communities along the river, which traverses the nation’s center, opt for river transport due to its comparative speed and the hazardous conditions of poorly maintained roads plagued by kidnapping gangs. Regrettably, boat operators often overload their dilapidated vessels in pursuit of higher profits.