Management of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has commiserated with government and people of Niger over last Saturday’s boat mishap, at Kija, Munyan local government area of the state, which claimed 15 lives.
The condolence message was contained in a statement personally signed by Managing Director of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria NAN on Wednesday in Lokoja.
Moghalu condoled with the government and people of the state, especially those who lost their loved ones in the boat mishap, describing the incident as unwarranted.
“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; use of life jackets and other life-saving appliances is mandatory, while overloading of boats is a criminal offence.
Yet boat skippers and crew are fond of flouting these rules.
“Nevertheless, NIWA will continue to engage in aggressive enlightenment and education of ferry operators and passengers alike,” he said.
Moghalu, however, said that the agency would investigate the accident and unravel the immediate and remote causes, with a view to preventing possible recurrence.
The NIWA managing director urged boat operators to abide by all safety requirements.
NAN recalls that tragedy struck at about 6:00 pm. on Saturday when a boat carrying passengers returning from Zumba market in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state capsized, leading to 15 persons drowning.
Local sources attributed the accident to heavy windstorm and over-loading, as the boat was carrying not fewer than 60 passengers, mostly women and children, who fled their various communities reportedly sacked by bandits. (NAN)
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