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At least 20 feared dead in boat accident

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By Abraham Adekunle

Over 300 lives were lost in 2023 across the country to boat accident.

In a tragic maritime incident on the night of January 9th, 2023, at least 20 individuals are feared dead following a collision between two passenger boats en route from Andoni to Bonny Island in Nigeria’s coastal Rivers State. This marks the first maritime accident of the year in the region, shedding light on the ongoing safety challenges faced by waterway travelers in Nigeria. Erastus Awortu, the chairman of Andoni local government area, confirmed the incident, emphasizing the urgency of the response. “When we learned of the tragic development, we immediately dispatched our team to join the first responders on a rescue mission at the scene of the incident,” Awortu stated. Unfortunately, details regarding survivors were not provided.

The occurrence underscores the persisting issues of overcrowding and poor maintenance plaguing Nigerian waterways, contributing to a significant number of boat accidents. Last year alone, over 300 lives were lost in various maritime incidents across the country. One devastating event in June claimed the lives of over 100 individuals when an overloaded boat capsized in the north-central Niger State. In response to the recent tragedy, Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara expressed condolences to the affected families and pledged proactive measures to address safety concerns on sea routes. Fubara stated, “We will ensure that such threats against safe traveling on our sea routes are tackled,” emphasizing the commitment to enhancing maritime safety and preventing further tragedies in the future.

Timeline of boat accidents in 2023 across Nigeria.

So, in 2023, Nigeria faced an unprecedented surge in waterway accidents, claiming over 300 lives across states such as Lagos, Kebbi, Taraba, Niger, and Anambra. The prevalent mishaps, attributed to factors like overloading, faulty engines, and a lack of life jackets, underscored a grim safety scenario on the country’s water routes. In October, a comprehensive two-part investigation by TheCable exposed regulatory failures, painting a stark picture of Nigeria’s waterways evolving into deadly traps. The timeline of reported boat accidents from January to December outlined a distressing sequence of incidents.

Year 2023 commenced with a tragic incident on January 3 when a boat transporting over 100 rice farmers capsized in Koko/Nesse LGA of Kebbi state, resulting in the death of ten farmers. Subsequent months witnessed accidents near the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, at Kanva Dam in Kano state, and in Dandeji village, Sokoto state. The tragedies continued in states like Ondo, Kwara, and Cross River, each marked by lives lost, rescues, and the recurring theme of inadequate safety measures.

Urgent attention needed to address these systemic issues.

Also, Kwara state suffered a devastating accident where over 100 individuals lost their lives in Egbu village, Patigi LGA in June. The overloaded boat, conveying victims returning from a wedding event, capsized due to avoidable human errors, according to the Nigeria Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA). In response, the Kwara government committed to enhancing water transportation safety by deploying 1,000 life jackets to boat operators. June 24 brought another tragedy in Calabar, Cross River state, where a speed boat capsized.

It resulted in five confirmed deaths and three missing medical students. NIWA attributed the incident to overloading, engine malfunctions, and adverse weather conditions. Following this, Cross River state governor Bassey Otu suspended cruise operations and activities at the Marina Resort. August witnessed a boat capsizing in the Atlantic Ocean in Lagos, with two individuals rescued. In Nasarawa state on August 24, 12 lives were lost in another boat accident, while seven people were rescued. Subsequent months brought further tragedies in Yola, Niger, Kebbi, Anambra, Lagos, and Taraba, each contributing to the escalating toll of waterway disasters.

Related Article: Recurrent boat mishaps in northern region 

President Bola Tinubu, in September, responded to the alarming frequency of boat accidents by ordering a thorough investigation. Directing Nigerian maritime safety authorities and law enforcement agencies to collaborate, Tinubu sought to identify the root causes of these preventable disasters. As the timeline indicates, these events, reported in the media, may not capture incidents in remote communities that go unreported. The cumulative impact of these tragedies calls for urgent and comprehensive measures to address the systemic issues plaguing Nigeria’s water transportation, ensuring the safety of its citizens navigating these perilous routes.

Related Link

National Inland Waterways Authority: Website

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1 month ago

At least 20 feared dead in boat accident.Over 300 lives were lost in 2023 across the country to boat accident.  – Express your point of view.

Adeoye Adegoke
1 month ago

That’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear about the boat accident and the lives lost. It’s truly devastating when tragedies like these occur. Boat accidents can be incredibly dangerous, and it’s crucial that we prioritize safety measures and regulations to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
The loss of over 300 lives in boat accidents across the country in 2023 is a stark reminder of the need for improved safety standards and enforcement. It’s important for authorities to thoroughly investigate the causes of these accidents and take necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from occurring again.
In situations like this, it’s also important for communities to come together and support those affected by the tragedy. Providing assistance, comfort, and resources to the families and loved ones of the victims can make a significant difference during these difficult times.
I hope that lessons are learned from these incidents, and that steps are taken to ensure the safety of all those who rely on boats for transportation. Let’s continue to raise awareness about the importance of safety measures and work towards preventing future accidents. 🙏🚢

1 month ago

In the boat disaster, at least 20 people are thought deceased. Nationwide, boat accidents claimed more than 300 lives in 2023. Boat mishaps can be extremely frightening. We must put in endless effort to prevent such mishaps from occurring in the future.

1 month ago

I’m saddened to learn about yet another boat catastrophe in Nigeria, and my thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones. My dream is that the government will act to stop such tragedies in the future as a result of these heartbreaking instances.

1 month ago

It’s disheartening to hear about the boat accident. The safety challenges in our waterways demand urgent attention. The commitment to addressing these issues and enhancing maritime safety is crucial for preventing such tragedies in the future. My thoughts are with the affected families.