, At least 40 people are reported missing after a boat carrying passengers capsized on a local river in Nigeria’s northern state of Kebbi, local authorities said Tuesday.
The boat capsized Monday while ferrying at least 50 passengers to a weekly market in the Yauri local government area of Kebbi, Bala Mohammed, the district’s administrator, told reporters.
So far, only 10 passengers have been rescued, Mohammed said. The boat was crossing the river, linking the north-central state of Niger and Kebbi, when it encountered turbulent waters, leading to its capsizing.
Local authorities and emergency services have launched a rescue operation to locate and rescue the missing passengers, Salihu Garba, head of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, told reporters in the state capital of Minna.
Garba said local divers had been deployed to conduct a search and rescue operation for the missing boat passengers.
Boat accidents in the West African country are frequently reported due to overloading, bad weather, and faulty operations.
Last month, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu ordered a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the recurring tragedy of fatal boat incidents across the country.
Tinubu directed various government agencies, including law enforcement, maritime safety, and transportation safety authorities to collaborate closely in identifying the root causes of unfortunate and preventable disasters. He also instructed a comprehensive review of safety measures and strict enforcement of existing laws on boating activities in the country.
The Nigerian leader said this move to probe the incessant boat incidents underscored his commitment to holding government agencies accountable for any regulatory or safety lapses.