The boat was said to have capsized while crossing the river. A local source lamented that all efforts to rescue other passengers, apart from the two, proved abortive.
About 19 children were drowned when a boat in which they were travelling capsized at Lafiagi in Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State over the weekend. Although the police said they were yet to receive an accurate figure of the incident, local sources claimed that the affected boat was conveying 22 passengers while only two were rescued. It was learnt that the victims were on their way to a traditional wedding ceremony on Saturday at a community in Niger State and needed to cross the River Niger.
The boat was said to have capsized while crossing the river. A local source lamented that all efforts to rescue other passengers, apart from the two, proved abortive. He said: “As at yesterday (Saturday) evening, four corpses have been recovered from the river. Effort would resume this morning (yesterday) to find others.
“Men of the Nigeria Police and the State Fire Service were there on Saturday in the rescue mission. Unfortunately only two of them survived.” When contacted, the Secretary of the Lafiagi Traditional Council, Alhaji Sulyman Aliyu, confirmed the incident but said he could not give accurate figure of casualties as rescue efforts were still ongoing. He said: “From what we have gathered, they are up to 12.
The figure is between 12 and that 19 that you said.”Aliyu noted that four bodies were recovered on Saturday. In his own reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ajayi Okasanmi, who also confirmed the incident, told our correspondent his office was yet to be briefed on the casualty figure. Okasanmi, however, explained that officers and men of the command and other security agencies had joined the local government council to recover the victims.
Meanwhile, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has commiserated with the Emir of Lafiagi, Alhaji Saadu Kawu Haliru, over the death of some Lafiagi indigenes in the boat accident at the Chewuru Ferry Port. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Abdulwahab Oba, described the incident as unfortunate and a great loss to their immediate family, the emirate and the state at large.
He said: “I deeply sympathise empathise with the Emir, the good people of Lafiagi and the family of the victims.” Ahmed urged families of the victims to take solace in the fact that death “is an inevitable end of all mortals.” The governor prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and give the families and the entire Lafiagi Emirate the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.