Minna, Niger State– A boat carrying at least 22 passengers from Kasabu village in Agwara Local Government Area of Niger State to Yauri, Kebbi State, capsized on Monday, October 2, 2023.
It was gathered that the incident occurred between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. in Yauri Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
The Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Salihu Garba, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna, the state capital, and said the agency received a distressing report about the boat incident.
Survivors of the incident recounted that the ill-fated boat was carrying approximately 22 passengers. Search and rescue operations are currently underway, with local divers and boat owners mobilized to assist in the efforts.
The agency’s desk officer in Agwara is overseeing these operations.
According to him, “As of now, no passengers have been recovered, and the situation remains dire. The incident unfolded on Yauri market day, compounding the anguish of families awaiting news of their missing loved ones.
Garba explained that it typically takes around 24 hours for drowned individuals to surface atop the water, further adding to the anxiety surrounding the rescue efforts. Preliminary investigations have indicated that the incident may have been caused by water hyacinth and strong waves.
In contrast to the initial estimate of 22 passengers, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, the Chairman of Yauri Local Government Council, confirmed to reporters in Birnin Kebbi that the boat was carrying 50 people along with their belongings.
He stated that the boat capsized due to the powerful waves in the Niger River, and only 10 individuals have been rescued so far, while the remaining 40 passengers and the boat itself are still submerged in the river.