156 people are missing following a boat mishap that occurred in Kebi State on Wednesday, according to the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
NIWA’s area manager for Yauri Kebbi State, Mr Yusuf Birma, confirmed this, and added that overloading was to blame for the accident.
Despite the ongoing rescue operation, Birma said that four people have been confirmed dead, 20 people have been rescued alive, and 156 remain missing.
There are 180 passengers and 30 Bajaj motorcycles aboard the boat. They were on their way to Malele, a market in Borgu local government area of Niger state from Kebbi, when the incident took place one hour into their trip.
“We are still rescuing the victims; the mishap was caused by overloading. As we speak, only 20 people have been rescued alive, four dead have been confirmed while the remaining 156 are still missing and are believed to be underwater,” he told reporters.
Birma added that most of the boats are old and weak, which may have contributed to the mishap.
“The boat involved is an old wooden boat that is very weak, but the people refuse to listen when we advise them to reduce the number of passengers they are carrying,” he said.
Emergency management agency in Niger state confirmed the incident, noting it did not happen in their state.