By Muhammad Lawal and Rita Iliya
The Chairman, Ngaski Local Government Area (LGA) of Kebbi, Alhaji Abdullahi Warrah, says five bodies have been recovered in the aftermath of the boat mishap which occurred in Warrah, headquarters of the LGA.
Warrah confirmed the recovery in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.
He said rescue operation was still ongoing, adding that personnel from Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Nigerian Inland Water Ways Authority (NIWA), professional swimmers and other individuals were actively involved.
Warrah said of the recovered bodies three were female, including a year old baby while the two others were male.
He said: “One of the males is a youth from Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara, while the other is also a youth from Warrah town.
“Four out of the five bodies recovered were residents of Warrah and all the deceased have been buried according to Islamic rites.”
The chairman added that 22 boat passengers who were rescued have been treated and discharged from local hospitals.
He, however, lamented that more than 100 others were still missing.
Reports from some quarters said apart from passengers, comprising traders and artisanal miners, the boat was also loaded with sand (mined minerals).
NAN recalls that the ill-fated boat took off from Lokon Mina in Niger with about 160 passengers.
The boat, however, capsized close to Warrah town, headquarters of Ngaski LGA in Kebbi State where 22 people were rescued.
Meanwhile, Gov. Abubakar Sani- Bello of Niger has described the boat mishap as unfortunate.
Bello, in a condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel-Berje in Minna on Thursday, expressed concern over the tragedy, adding that the situation was worrisome and pathetic.
Bello condoled with the families, relatives and close associates of the those who died in the mishap and urged them to keep faith alive and accept it as an act of God.
He also prayed for the quick recovery of the injured and traumatised victims.
“I sympathise with the relations of the victims of the boat that capsized, please take solace in the fact that Allah gives and takes and knows why he permitted it to happen.
“May God forgive those who died in the mishap and heal those injured and traumatised,” he said. (NAN)
•PHOTO: Boat mishap – rescue workers at work