At least 42 people were drowned in a boat mishap on River Niger close to Malilli Village in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State on September 27, 2013, Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 100 others on board were missing in the wreckage which occurred at about 2 p.m.
Mr. Ibrahim Hussaini, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), confirmed the incident in a telephone interview on September 28, 2013, Saturday.
He said the details were sketchy, but the boat which had over 150 passengers capsized midway and drowned 42 people, while 100 others were missing.
The spokesman said that local divers from Malili Village had recovered 42 corpses, while efforts were being intensified to rescue possible survivors or the corpse of those drowned.
“At the moment search and rescue is ongoing on the river.
“I will make the details of the incident later, but the agency has dispatch its officers to assist the villagers in the rescue efforts,’’ he said.
Mr. Hussaini said the recovered corpses would be given mass burial close to the river bank, adding that neighbouring villages had been alerted to look out for floating corpses.
Saidu Ndako, the Secretary to the State Government, also confirmed the boat mishap.
“I received the information late in the night that a boat had capsized and 42 persons have drowned in the incident, while rescue operation is ongoing.
“We believe that the boat was overload because the boat’s capacity was put at 60 passengers, but over 150 passengers were said to be on board during the incident.
“The debris in the swollen river may also have been responsible for the incident,” Mr. Ndako said.
Mr. Ndako said that the government condoled with the family of those who had lost their loved ones, and pray that Allah grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.