More than 100 killed after boat capsizes in Nigeria

Rescue operations are still under way after boat accident on the Niger River kills more than 100 people, police say.


A boat carrying residents returning from a wedding capsized in northern Nigeria, killing more than 100 people, police and local residents said as a search for survivors intensified.

The boat capsized early Monday on the Niger River in the Pategi district of Kwara state close to neighbouring Niger, the state’s police spokesman Okasanmi Ajayi said on Tuesday.

“So far we have 103 people dead and over 100 rescued from the boat accident,” Ajayi said. “Search and rescue is still ongoing which means the toll is likely to rise.”

The victims, including women and children, were returning from a wedding in the village of Egboti in Niger state, said resident Usman Ibrahim.

It was not immediately clear whether there were survivors.

“People in the boat were to take their bikes to their various communities [upon disembarking]. The boat was carrying more than 100 people when it sank,” said Ibrahim.

Many of the victims drowned because the accident happened at about 3am [02:00 GMT] and not many knew of it until hours later, he said. “Up till now, some dead bodies are still being searched [for].”

Local daily Nigerian Tribune reported that the passengers were from Kpada, Egbu and Gakpan villages in Kwara.

“What we hear from various sources in that area is that at least 64 people came from one village and about 40 from another village,” said Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from the capital, Abuja.

He added that funerals had already been held “for at least 60 people who were killed in the accident”.

“What we know so far is that most of the passengers were not wearing any protective gear like life vests,” Idris said, adding that rescue operations were under way.

There have been similar mishaps in the past in the area, which is close to the confluence between the rivers Niger and Benue, two of Africa’s longest.

In May 2021, a boat sank on the Niger around the same area, according to another local daily, The Guardian. As many as 160 people died in that accident.

(Al Jazeera)
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies