…Benue Police Command recovers 14 bodies from Sunday’s Benue River boat mishap, continues searching!***
The Managing Director, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu on Tuesday, warned boat operators against further flouting of NIWA Safety guidelines, following boat accidents in Lagos and Benue last weekend, both of which consumed over 20 lives.
Dr. Moghalu’s warnings came, even as NIWA grieved over its helplessness to save the lives of those who drowned, mostly because they either embarked on the trips in the night, after the stipulated time of 6 pm; or failed to wear required safety buoys.
“Consequently, the Authority is hereby warning all boat operators in the country to adhere strictly to inland waterways transportation safety guidelines.
“The Authority is sad with the recent boat mishaps (which could be avoidable) in Lagos and Benue States that claimed so many lives as a result of violating Inland Waterways Transportation Safety guidelines.
“The Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Chief Dr. George N. Moghalu wishes to commiserate with the families, people and Government of the affected States”, the NIWA statement, issued by Acting General Manager, Jibril Darda`u stated, even as boat operators were strongly warned to adhere strictly to NIWA safety guidelines or be sanctioned.
The Managing Director further said, his reform agenda of inland waterways transportation system in the country is working towards ensuring a minimal, even if not totally free boat mishap on our waterways.
In a related development, the Benue Police Command said it had recovered 14 bodies from the Benue River boat mishap which occurred on Sunday.
Benue Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Makurdi.
It was reported that the ill-fated boat had on board 23 members of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Adeke community, Makurdi, when the incident happened.
Only two of the victims of the boat mishap were rescued.
Anene said that 14 dead bodies were recovered while other victims were still missing.
“The tragic incident of 5/7/2020 kept the command searching and hoping that victims of the boat mishap would be rescued alive.
“Regrettably, a total of 14 corpses: 8 females and 6 males, were recovered from the river while other victims still missing,” the police spokesperson said.
The Command commiserated with families of the deceased and prayed to God to grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“Members of the public are advised to employ all protective measures and caution while sailing, as turbulent flow of water during the rainy season, can create unforeseen circumstances.
“The CP, while sympathizing with the bereaved, commended the frantic efforts made by sailors and communities around the river bank during the rescue operation.
“He urged them to educate their wards about the dangers of using waterways during this period”.