… Boat Was Overloaded
…Says All 30 Passengers Did Not Wear Life Jackets.
… Ferry Was Designed To Carry Only Vehicles But Converted To Passenger Vessel,
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has confirmed that 11 people died while 12 were rescued and 18 motorcycles that were on the boat recovered in River Buruku in Benue State.
An online statement issued by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, Tayo Fadile quoted NIWA’s Area Manager in Benue State, Engr. Danjuma Mohammed Kabiru, who visited the site of the boat accident, confirmed this today.
The Area Manager explaibed that the confirmation became necessary following reports in some quarters that claiming that 18 people lost their lives in the boat mishap.
He added that the search for the seven remaining bodies is ongoing.
He disclosed that as against the standard practice, a vehicular boat was used to ferry the 30 passengers on board which was obviously overloaded.
The Area Manager also confirm that against NIWA safety guideline which stipulated that boats and river craft should not travel after 6.00pm on our waterways, this ill-fated boat started its journey by 9:00pm and also contrary to NIWA safety guidelines none of the 30 passengers were wearing life jackets.
“While we commiserate with the Government and people of Benue State on this unfortunate incident, we are also using this opportunity to urge all intending passengers on our waterways to always adhere to the safety guidelines as provided by NIWA, especially the need to wear life jacket and to discourage traveling on our waterways after 6:00pm.”
He continued, “We are particularly worried that a ferry boat designed to carry only vehicles was illegally turned to a passenger vessel, causing the loss of eighteen (18) precious lives.