No fewer than 20 fishermen have drowned after a boat conveying them on the stretch of the Benue River capsized.
The incident, which happened, yesterday comprises fishermen from Ibi and Gindin Doruwa in Wukari Local Government Area of the state.
The Taraba State Water Transportation Chairman, Jidda Suleiman, confirmed the incident to newsmen, adding that the boat mishap happened between Anyeci area of Wukari council of Taraba State and Chinkai axis of Benue State.
According to him, “I was informed that the fishermen converged and boarded the boat to Kwara State in search for greener pasture, and along the way, they had an accident and over 20 people have died.
“Twelve people out of the dead bodies are from Ibi while, some from Gareji, in Gindin Doruwa, Wukari council of Taraba State.
“It has been the tradition of our fishermen in Taraba State that once it is close to December, some will travel to Cameroon, some to Chad and other places to fish till August of the following year.
“It’s unfortunate that the usual tradition turned to be sorrowful this time.”
He appealed to both state and Federal Governments to provide life jackets for jetties to avert future occurrence.
Meanwhile, Governor Agbu Kefas of Taraba State has expressed sadness over the tragic accident.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Digital Communications, Emmanuel Bello, bemoaned the recurrent boat mishaps and assured that his government was already working on measures to stop the waterways tragedies.
He said: “Today’s boat incident is even more unfortunate since it is coming on the heels of a similar one in Karim Lamido that threw the state into mourning.
“It is heartbroken, however, I wish to appeal that government is already on top of the situation as various investigations are underway to unravel the remote causes of boat mishaps in the state.
“I will soon personally tour the affected areas to meet with local stakeholders in the waterways transport sectors to ensure that water transport system is safe for passengers.
“Measures are put in place to face out old boats and introduce the compulsory use of life jackets among other life-saving measures.”