Dozens, including many children, die in Nigeria boat disaster

Local officials say at least 29 people, mostly children, drowned after an overloaded river boat capsized in Kano state.

Map of Kano state, Nigeria

An overloaded boat carrying dozens of passengers, mostly children aged eight to 15, has capsized on Bagwai River in northwest Nigeria’s Kano state, according to rescue officials.

Saminu Abdullahi, the spokesman for Kano state’s fire service, said the incident took place late on Tuesday

“We have recovered 29 bodies … and rescued seven passengers. The search for the remaining 13 bodies is ongoing,” Abdullahi told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

Abdullahi said the boat was “meant to ferry 12 adults but the skipper packed such a number of children onboard”.

The children, from Badau village in Kano state, were on their way to Bagwai, a town on the other side of the river, for a religious ceremony.

Boat accidents are tragically common on Nigerian waterways mostly due to overcrowding, bad weather and lack of maintenance.

Last month, seven girls aged between 10 and 12 drowned in neighbouring Jigawa state when their boat capsized.

In June, 13 people died in Sokoto state when a boat ferrying wedding guests capsized.

One of the worst recorded incidents was in May when more than 150 people went missing after their wooden boat broke apart and sank on the Niger River.

Source: AFP