The National Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA) has mourned the death of more than 100 which resulted from a boat accident in Kwara State.
In a tragic incident on 12th June, 2023, the boat mishap occurred along the Jebba Lake channel in the Lafiagi-Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The Authority expressed deep sorrow over the incident and extended its heartfelt condolences to the families affected by this devastating accident.
The management is particularly alarmed by the high number of casualties and considers the accident as both unfortunate and preventable.
Meanwhile, preliminary investigations, led by the NIWA Area Manager in Minna/Kwara Area Office, was launched to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the mishap.
It was revealed that the ill-fated voyage took place around 2:30 am, with the boat driver and wedding guests onboard. This blatant disregard for the laws governing inland waterways navigation highlights the need for stricter enforcement and compliance.
The investigation further revealed that the wooden boat was allegedly carrying more than 200 passengers, exceeding its capacity, and was operating without the mandatory use of life jackets.
Moreover, the boat was navigating during the nighttime, which is a violation of safety protocols. These grossly negligent actions contributed to the magnitude of the tragedy.
NIWA expressed solidarity with the government and people of Kwara State during this challenging time. In accordance with existing laws and regulations, the Authority has committed to conducting a thorough investigation into the incident and will hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
“We will not stand idly by as irresponsible boat operators flout our safety guidelines and jeopardize the lives of innocent commuters,” stated a spokesperson for NIWA. “This tragic incident underscores the urgent need for enhanced enforcement measures to ensure the safety and security of all those utilizing our inland waterways.”
NIWA has pledged to work closely with relevant authorities to prevent such incidents in the future. The Authority remains resolute in its commitment to implementing strict safety measures, regulating waterway transportation, and promoting awareness to prevent similar accidents from occurring.
As the investigation unfolds, NIWA will keep the public informed of any significant developments and measures taken to address the safety concerns surrounding inland waterways transportation.