15 die, 37 missing in Niger boat mishap


15 people have lost their lives, while 37 other are still missing in a boat mishap in Borgu local government area of Niger State. 

According to a source, the victims were returning from Warrah market, a border community in Ngaski local government area of Kebbi state to Sabo Yumu in Borgu, when the accident occurred Sunday evening. 

According to him, the accident may be as a result of poor visibility due to bad weather, which caused the boat to run into a tree stump on river Malale midway into the journey. 

“As we speak, 15 corpses have been recovered and already buried, while two others were rescued even as many are still missing,” he explained, adding that divers are still searching for other passengers. 

He said the number of passengers on the boat could not be ascertained, but said the boat was “big and has a capacity for over 50” passengers. 

“Also because it is market day, there is the tendency that it might be overloaded,” he stated. 

The Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Ahmed Inga, who confirmed the development on Wednesday, puts the death toll at 15.

According to him, the boat was carrying 50 passengers, adding that some survivors were rescued, while divers are still searching for others. 

He said the state government is working towards putting in place regulatory framework to check the activities of boat operators and also addressing the impediments that hamper their activities. 

He also disclosed that government is looking at the possibility of providing life jackets in a bid to reduce the high casualties often recorded during accident. 

In 2017, eight people, mostly women and children lost their lives in similar circumstances while returning to Malale from Warrah market in Kebbi state through the same route.