No fewer than 350 lives were lost to boat mishaps in Nigeria in 2020, an official has disclosed.
The disclosure was made in Borgu, Niger State, on Saturday by Joseph Ityav, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC).
He was speaking at Malale in Borgu local government area of Niger State at the flag-off of the cutting of tree logs and removal of huge debris on Kainji and Shiroro Lakes.
He said the project was being executed in partnership with the National Inland Waterways Corporation.
Mr Ityav blamed most of the mishaps on poor conditions of boats, overloading, unavailability of life jackets and the preponderance of tree logs on the waterways.
He said that the cutting of the tree logs and removal of debris would reduce boat mishaps and the hardships faced by riverine communities.
In his remarks, Abubakar Yelwa, Managing Director of HYPPADEC, said the Commission would address ecological and environmental issues and loss of lives which resulted from the construction of the Kainji and Shiroro Dams.
Kainji Dam was constructed on River Niger in 1964 at a cost of 209 million dollars and was inaugurated in 1968.
Shiroro Dam was constructed also on the River Niger, in Kaduna State, South-west of Abuja in 1983.
Meanwhile, Mr Yelwa commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the National assembly for signing the Act setting up HYPPADEC, which began operations in 2020 to address challenges of impacted communities.
Abdullahi Sabi, Senate Deputy Chief Whip, said at the ceremony that HYPPADEC’s projects would help to address challenges faced by communities in the hydro-power generating areas.
Mr Sabi, who represented Gabriel Suswan, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, said that the National Assembly would continue to support HYPPADEC to achieve its objectives.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how over 97 bodies were recovered from a recent boat mishap at Warrah, Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
The boat from Lokon Minna, Niger, conveying traders, artisanal miners and other passengers, capsized at Warrah. The boat was conveying more than 160 persons on May 27.
PREMIUM TIMES had on May 29 reported how the governor said 76 bodies were initially recovered and more were being searched for.
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