The Management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has expressed deep sadness over the boat mishap which occurred on Monday, June 12, 2023, along the Jebba Lake channel in the Lafiagi-Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State in which about 103 passengers were feared to have died.
In a statement issued on behalf of the Management by the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Jibril Darda’u, NIWA condoled with the families of those that have lost their loved ones, and are particularly concerned with the huge number of casualties.
The statement reads in part: “This accident was clearly an unfortunate and avoidable one. Preliminary investigations through our Area Manager in Minna/Kwara Area Office revealed that the boat driver and wedding guests were on the ill-fated voyage about 2:30am, which speaks volumes about the disregard for the laws regulating inland waterways navigation.
“Furthermore, for a wooden boat to have allegedly been carrying more than 200 passengers at once without using life jackets and sailing in the night was certainly gross-overloading and misconduct.”
While extending its commiserations to the government and people of Kwara State, the Authority vowed to in line with extant laws and regulations investigate the incident and prosecute those found culpable.
It stated that NIWA as an Authority will not fold its arms and allow reckless boat operators flaunting the nation’s safety guidelines and killing innocent commuters.