Three hundred and fifty people died in boat mishaps in Nigeria in the past one year, the chairman, Governing Council of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC), Joseph Ityav, said yesterday.
He spoke at Malale in Borgu local government area of Niger State at the flag-off of the cutting of tree logs and removal of huge debris on the Shiroro and Kainji lakes, a project being executed in partnership with the National Inland Waterways Corporation.
Our correspondent reports that in the past two months, no fewer than 50 lives were lost in boat mishaps between Niger and Kebbi states.
Ityav identified some of the causes of river accidents to poor condition of boats, over loading, lack of life jackets and tree logs, hence the cutting of logs and removal of water snacks to contain the menace and alleviate the hardship in riverine communities.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Power and special guest on the occasion, Senator Gabriel Suswan who was represented by Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, said the project would bring succor to the people of the affected communities.
He charged the federal government and HYPPADEC board to do the needful and assured of the National Assembly’s continued support to achieving the objectives of the commission.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who was represented by Umar Musa Gulani to flag-off the exercise, called for adequate follow up as well as monitoring and evaluation by reporting back to government accordingly while charging for oversight function.
The managing director of HYPPADEC, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa, said the creation of the commission was due to ecological and environmental problems as well series of loss of lives.