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Boat mishap: Kebbi to review extant maritime laws to prevent loss of lives

The Executive Governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu has disclosed that his administration will review extant maritime laws to prevent further loss of lives and properties.

Recall that on Wednesday, a boat reportedly carrying passengers from Niger to Kebbi had capsized.

According to report, more than 100 persons were feared to have drowned in the incident while 22 persons were rescued alive.

Meanwhile, the Sokoto office of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had also disclosed that 81 bodies have been recovered following the boat mishap.

In a statement released by Yahaya Sarki, his special adviser on media, the governor said the review was necessary in the face of recurring cases of boat mishaps, resulting in the loss of lives and properties of innocent passengers in the state.

This was stated by the governor while speaking during a condolence visit to Muhammad Zayyanu, Emir of Yauri.

According to the governor, 59 of the dead victims were from Warrah Town.

“The incident was unfortunate and saddening, yet, It was ordained by the Almighty Allah,” the statement read.

“Bagudu also acknowledged and appreciated the flurry of search and rescue efforts by divers, private boat owners, governmental and non-governmental agencies.

“The governor condoled with the families of the victims, as well as prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed victims, while he also prayed for the quick recovery of the injured victims.

“Bagudu called on people, especially boat users and passengers to learn from previous experiences and desist from acts capable of endangering their lives.

“In whatever we do, we must stick to rules, boat users should stick to specifications on the exact number of passengers to be carried by each boat.

“There should always be passengers manifest, even before boarding. The basic marine transport protocols should be observed.

“This is something we can do at least to guard against future occurrences.

“He urged people to accept the incident in good faith as it was from God and advised them not to be deterred from working hard to earn their legitimate livelihoods.”

The governor expressed hope that more of the victims would be rescued alive.

Responding, the emir thanked the governor for his concern and called for urgent dredging of the river to prevent further occurrence.

He noted that in 2003, a similar boat accident was recorded in the area which claimed the lives of 50 passengers.

“What is needed, now according to the Emir as a safeguard against future occurrence, was dredging of the river, to do away with tree logs in the river,” the emir reportedly said.

“We hoped that the Hydro-Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) will play significant role in that direction, as well as ensure the provision of safety jackets or life jackets to all passengers.”

Also, Sani Dododo, special adviser, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), announced a donation of N11 million on behalf of the state government to the families of the deceased, those injured and those who partook in the search and rescue operation.

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