At least eight people died Friday after a boat carrying about 50 traders from a local market split into two after hitting a stump in the River Niger.
The boat was ferrying traders from Warra, Ngaski local government area in southern part of Kebbi State, who were returning from Malale market in Borgu local government area of Niger State.
The sole administrator of Ngaski LGA, Garba Hassan, said eight people had so far died and that the toll may increase.
“We have mobilised local divers and additional boats to continue (with the) search and recovery of bodies. So far, we have recovered eight bodies, while survivors have been taken to hospital, many of whom have fully recovered and discharged,” he said.
Survivors told PREMIUM TIMES the accident occurred towards the end of the 90-minute journey at about 6:05 p.m. Friday.
Hamza Dogonhaske, one of the survivors, said the boat broke into two midway after hitting a stump. He said he could confirm that four female and three male passengers died.
“The boat was not speeding and had attempted to make emergency turn away from the stump,” he said.
“The wooden boat hit the stump and broke into two. Some us who know how to swim and nearby boats were able to rescue many who could not swim,” Mr. Dogonhaske said.
The deputy Senate leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who represents Kebbi South, expressed shock over the incident.
“I have to cancel my scheduled overseas trip and right now I am on my way to the scene of the mishap,” he said.
He condoled the governor of Kebbi State and the Emir of Yauri and all those who lost their loved ones.
Over 40 persons died in a boat accident in the same area in September, 2013, about four kilometres offshore near Malale village in Borgu local government area of Niger State.
The boat was ferrying people from Tungar Na’illo from neighbouring Kebbi State to same local market in Malale, when it also hit a stump and broke into two.
At least 42 dead bodies were said to have been recovered from the river.
Residents said the body of the Village Head of Tungar Na’illo, Garba Maigari, who was in the boat, was also missing in the waters.