Boat mishaps: Tinubu orders comprehensive investigation


By Abiodun OBA

Disturbed by the incessant boat mishaps in the country, President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday ordered a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the unabating tragedies.

The president, in a statement by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in the recent boat mishaps.

Only recently, boat accidents occurred in Niger and Adamawa States in which scores of lives were lost.

While expressing solidarity with the governments and people of Niger and Adamawa States as they swiftly mobilized emergency response teams and volunteers to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the incidents, the President wished a most speedy recovery to those who were injured.

The President directed various government agencies, including law enforcement, maritime safety and transportation safety authorities to collaborate closely in identifying the root causes of these unfortunate and preventable disasters.

Tinubu underscored his commitment to holding government agencies accountable for any regulatory or safety lapses and further instructed a comprehensive review of safety measures and a strict enforcement of existing laws on boating activities in the country.

The President assured the affected families and communities of government’s continued support and his commitment to the prevention of such tragic incidents from occurring in the future.

Report said boat accidents caused by head-on collisions, speeding and overloading claimed no fewer than 3,133 lives in the last 10 years.

A tally of reported incidents done by the Punch, covering January 2013 to June 2023, indicated that Niger, Rivers and Bayelsa states have the highest number of boat accidents. In coastal Rivers and Bayelsa states, there were over 557 deaths, with over 112 unaccounted for, as their bodies were never recovered.

In Niger State, from 2013 to date, there were about 24 boat accidents, which led to the death of over 332 people, including women and children.

On March 15, 2013, the National Emergency Management Agency reported that nine bodies were recovered from a capsized boat some 40 nautical miles from the coast of Calabar, Cross River State. About 117 others were declared missing as the boat, which carried over 166 persons, said to be illegal immigrants being trafficked to Gabon, sank.

At least 30 people reportedly died in a boat mishap in Mokwa Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State three days ago while 11 people died in another boat mishap at Gurin village, in Fufore LGA of Adamawa State.

© 2023, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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