Kebbi tragedies that threw families, mourners into agony - Punch Newspapers
The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria
12 June 2021“The journey started smoothly until after about two kilometres on water when the boat began to shake and suddenly, there was a loud bang and it split into two.“I struggled to rescue others because I know how to swim but the water volume overwhelmed me. Luckily, I was able to swim to safety with the aid of the cover of a food flask belonging to a food vendor.
“I am still traumatised anytime I recall the cries of passengers who drowned when the boat capsized,” said Mallam Shehu Warrah, one of the survivors of the ill-fated boat in Yobe State that killed over 100 passengers.Warra and other passengers envisaged a safe trip when the boat loaded with goods took off from Loko Minna in Niger State. But sadly, only a few of the passengers were alive to tell their stories. The boat capsized in Tsohuwan Labata village, Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
The Sarkin Samari of Warra, Adamu Warra, who spoke with journalists about the boat accident, said, “Almost every household has its member in the ill- fated boat. The boat carrying over 150 people capsized in the deepest part of River Niger.”Speaking in the same vein, Secretary, Nigerian Red Cross, Kebbi State branch, Ibrahim Ngaski, said, “Though the number of passengers on the boat has yet to be ascertained, information gathered indicated that the boat was carrying about 200 passengers. The majority of the passengers were artisans, miners and traders coming from Niger State to Kebbi State. headtopics.com
“Absence of rescue equipment is the major impediment to the rescue operation. The information at hand showed that the boat was carrying 200 people. We are waiting to hear from our men who have since joined the rescue team.”A source in the National Inland Waterways Authority, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the number of passengers on board had yet to be ascertained because the search operation was still ongoing.
The source said, “They had buried corpses recovered through collaborative efforts of local divers, marine police in conjunction with officials of NIWA, Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency, police and victims’ family members.’’The Executive Director, Kebbi SEMA, Alhaji Abbas Jamba, who also spoke to our correspondent, said the recovery was a continuous process.
He stated that he couldn’t say when it would end going by the presumed number of passengers on board.The Special Adviser on Media to Governor Atiku Bagudu, Yahaya Sarki, in a statement on the incident said the state was in deep shock over the boat accident.
It added, “The state governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu condoles with the families of those affected by the unfortunate boat accident and prays to the Almighty Allah to give the families the forbearance to bear the loss in good faith.“The Kebbi State Government was already collaborating with Ngaski Local Government and other relevant authorities for search and rescue operations in the area.” headtopics.com
At present, N155m had been donated by sympathisers who visited the state to commiserate with grieving families.The Nigeria Governors’ Forum donated N50m followed by the Sokoto State Government which gave N40m, Zamfara State Government N30m, Jigawa State government N25m while the Senate assisted the families with N10m.
The state had yet to get over the calamity, when news filtered in that members of a vigilance group popularly called ‘Yan Sakai’ were killed by suspected bandits in the Danko/Wasagu Local Government Area of the state.It was gathered that the vigilantes were killed last Friday when the bandits attacked seven villages in the area.
‘Yan Sakai is a vigilance group assisting security agents deployed almost a year to secure volatile areas under siege by bandits.The state police command confirmed the killing of 80 vigilantes in the Danko/Wasagu LGA of the state. But a source in the village said the casualty figure had risen to 92 with several others injured.Read more: The Punch Newspapers »
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