The Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority, Dr. George Moghalu, has said the agency is investigating the cause of a boat mishap at Kija in Munyan Local Government Area of Niger State, where 28 people lost their lives.
Moghalu in a statement commiserated with the government and people of the state, particularly families that lost loved ones in the mishap.
Financial Street recalls that the unfortunate incident took place on Sunday, May 8, around 6p.m., when a boat carrying about 100 passengers ran into a wreck, mere 50 metres to their destination. The passengers were coming from Zumba, Tija Village in Munyan LGA.
There were 65 survivors, 28 corpses, while seven people are still missing.
Reacting, Moghalu blamed the accident on boat operators, saying they flagrantly flout laid down safety rules and regulations of NIWA.
“The Authority is particularly pained by the unwarranted loss of lives and property, due to disregard for established rules and regulations guiding passenger/ ferry operations in the country.
“For safety reasons, night sailing is banned; the use of life jackets and other life-saving appliances is mandatory, even as overloading of boats is a criminal offence. Yet boat skippers and crew are fond of flouting these rules,” he said.
The NIWA MD maintained that the agency will continue to engage in aggressive enlightenment and education of ferry operators and passengers alike.
“While extending our condolences once again, we shall investigate this incident to unravel the immediate and remote causes, with a view to preventing a re-occurrence. We wish, therefore, to urge boat operators to abide by all safety requirements,” he said.
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