The Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (YOSEMA) has now provided more details about the accident that occurred at Jumbam village in Tarmuwa Local Government Area of the State.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Mohammed Goje, told PREMIUM TIMES that seven bodies have so far been recovered by the divers that are working on the rescue operation.
Mr Goje also disclosed that eight other people are hospitalized at Dapchi General Hospital in Bursari Local Government Area but they are stable.
“The number of dead bodies recovered so far is 8 but our local divers are still working on recovering more bodies from the accident,” Mr Goje told PREMIUM TIMES.
“There are also eight people that are injured and are on admission at General Hospital at Dapchi. I must tell you that all of them are stable. We would have moved them to the Teaching Hospital in Damaturu but because of the difficult situation it is very difficult, so it is better they are stabilized at the nearest hospital,” he said.
He said the accident occurred because the boats were overcrowded.
PREMIUM TIMES findings show that flood had washed off the road leading to the village. The villagers turned to water transportation, using locally fabricated canoes and boats.
Dozens of villagers were on the two boats going to the market when the boats capsized.
A statement on the official Facebook page of YOSEMA disclosed that the relief agency, following the directives of Governor Mai Buni, commenced rescue operations. It also sought alternative ways to access the trapped communities with relief items.
Governor Buni, who earlier expressed sadness at the incident, is expected to visit the community on Sunday to assess the impact of the flood and commiserate with victims.
The governor through his spokesman Mammam Mohammed Saturday commiserated with the people over the boat mishap.
The statement said the governor was “saddened” by the incident.
Boat transportation is poorly regulated in Yobe and many other states in Nigeria. The boats seldom have safety equipment such as lifejackets.
Read the full statement by the Yobe agency below.
“Following the unfortunate devastating incidents of Boat Mishaps that resulted in loss of lives and other victims sustaining injuries.
“As directed by His Excellency the Executive Governor of Yobe State Hon Mai Mala Buni, YOSEMA activated its search and rescue operation using local divers and available resources to recover those suspected to be missing.
“While we sincerely Commiserate with affected families and wish injured victims speedy recovery, YOSEMA calls on the general public to exercise caution and avoid desperate flying of the route.
“YOBE State government in collaboration with security agencies and relevant stakeholders are working to provide improvised alternative safe routes for affected communities to have safe travel and access among adjoining villages. Communities trapped will be provided with essential live-saving support accordingly,” the statement reads.