A bride-to-be and five children of a traditional ruler were among the 29 passengers killed in the boat tragedy in Gidan Magana village, Ginga settlement in Sokoto state’s Shagari local government area.
According to reports, the passengers were crossing the river to a neighboring jungle to collect firewood to sell for a living.
The boat was carrying 35 people when it capsized at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13. Six of the passengers, however, were saved.
Malam Muhammadu Auwal, the village chief of Gidan Magana, who lost five of his children in the accident, told Daily Trust that the deceased included 23 girls and six males.
He mentioned that the victims were crossing the river to get firewood, which was in short supply in their neighborhood.
“You understand the gravity of the issue. There is a severe scarcity of fuel, which we need to cook our meals. The kids would walk to the surrounding bush across the river to obtain firewood for their parents, and some of them would sell it to get money.”
According to him, the event occurred immediately after the boat set off.
“Due to high seas, the sailor lost control immediately after takeoff.” “And it capsized,” he explained.
He remarked that the tragedy occurred as many of the village’s older folks were resting at home after the dawn prayer.
“I was sleeping when a young man arrived to my house and told me about the incident.” I rallied my community, including our local divers, but many of the youngsters had died before we arrived.
“I lost five of my children and two of my wife’ younger sisters.” I also lost my niece, whose wedding was set to take place one week after Sallah. This is the most terrible disaster that has ever occurred in our town. “We beseech Allah to grant their souls everlasting peace and to provide us the strength to endure their loss,” he added.
Aliyu Muhammad, who lost his 12-year-old daughter Rufaida in the disaster, stated that his daughter was well before she went into the jungle.
“I was on my way to the farm when my wife informed me that my daughter would get firewood for us.” As I was driving back, I heard people yelling and begging for aid because a boat had capsized in our river.
“When I got home, my younger children told me that Rufaida was onboard the canoe, so I raced to the river side, only to meet her lifeless corpse laying by the river bank,” he recounted, his voice filled with anguish.
Aliyu Abubakar Dantani, the chairman of Shagari local government area, said he learned about the occurrence through the counsellor representing Dande Mahe and immediately summoned the Divisional Police Officer, who came to the hamlet with him.
“We counted 28 dead at the site, and they all came from the same town,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the deceased were given a mass burial in line with Islamic customs.