At least four persons have died while 156 others are missing in a boat mishap in Kebbi State on Wednesday, according to officials.
An Area Manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Kebbi State, Yusuf Birma, said the accident was caused by overloading.
Birma said rescue operation was ongoing but added that four people had been confirmed dead, 20 rescued alive while 156 people were still missing.
“The boat is carrying 180 passengers with 30 Bajaj motorcycles. The victims were going to a market in Malele in Borgu local government area of Niger state from Kebbi and the incident happened just one hour into their trip.
“We are still rescuing the victims; the mishap occurred as a result of overloading. The boat capacity is not up 180 passengers it carried, as we speak, only 20 people have been rescued alive, four dead confirmed while the remaining 156 people are still missing and they are believed to be underwater,” he said.
“The boat involved is a wooden boat which is old and are very weak but these people will not listen when we sensitised them to reduce the number of passengers they are carrying with the boat.”
The administrative head of Ngaski district in Kebbi State, Abdullahi Buhari Wara, who also confirmed the incident, said the boat left Niger State for Kebbi State when it split and sank.
He said the boat was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine.
Early this month, no fewer than 30 people drowned when an overloaded boat capsized in Niger State.
The boat, which was ferrying 100 local traders, split into two after hitting a stump during a storm as they were returning from a local market.