The death toll in a boat accident in North Central Nigeria has risen to 28, as local communities mobilized to support search operations for dozens still missing. The boat carrying over 100 passengers, mostly women and children, capsized along the Niger River on Sunday morning. The community in Mokwa district took several hours to receive help due to its remote location. Divers recovered four more bodies by Monday morning, with at least 40 passengers believed to be still missing. Thirty had been rescued.
Public officials in the Niger state are on their way to Mokwa region to find out what happened on Sunday when the boat capsized. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, with marine police and local divers helping to find survivors and washed-away bodies. Communities have taken the recovered bodies for funerals, with many still waiting to find possible survivors.
The governor of Niger, Mohammed Umaru Bago, called the accident “shocking and sorrowful” and ordered the state’s emergency services to help those who were harmed. He emphasized the value of wearing life jackets and steering clear of crowded boats. Concerns remain about regular and deadly boat accidents in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, where many remote and riverine communities lack access to good roads. It is unclear what caused the latest accident, but emergency services personnel said it could be a result of overloading, the condition of the boat, or a hindrance to the boat’s movement along the water.
This is the third boat accident in a week in Nigeria, following incidents on Lake Njuwa and Fufore district.