Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has confirmed one death, following a boat accident that occurred in Kwata, in the Zumba community of Shiroro Local Council of the state.
The accident occurred at about 10: 00 a.m. on Saturday, July 23, 2022. Director General of the Agency, Ahmed Ibrahim Inga, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Guardian in Minna, said the ill-fated boat was loaded with passengers, goods and other farm produce, including livestock’s for the weekly market days in the area.
According to him, the boat was loaded from Nansa village by the river bank and upstream of Shiroro Hydro Power Dam, heading towards Kwata for the Saturday market at Zumba.
Inga explained that midway into the water, the boat hit a tree, stumbled and broke into two, leading to the drowning of several passengers on board. He stated that one person has been confirmed dead, while another victim was injured.
He noted that the dead body of the unidentified male passenger has been recovered just as an injured male passenger has been rescued, taken to a nearby hospital in one of the neighbouring communities and has been treated and discharged.
Ibrahim said that search and rescue operation was slow because the communities around the scene of the incident have been described as a bandits’ enclave.
It was learnt that most of the passengers on board rumoured to have drowned swam to safety unhurt, while others were also rescued by local divers.
He expressed worries over disputing reports trailing the boat mishap. He said: “It is believed that the passengers, mostly women and children, were going to trade their wares, which included food stuff, other farm produce and livestock at the market, before the incident occurred.
“It was also revealed that rescue operations were a bit slow, because rescuers were allegedly afraid to assist the victims of the commercial boat mishap for fear of being kidnapped by bandits lurking around in the rural communities in the local council.”