No fewer than 103 people, including a father and his four children, who were returning from a marriage ceremony, lost their lives in a boat accident at Egbu village, in the Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State, on Monday when the boat that was transporting them capsized.
The spokesperson for the Kwara State Police Command, SP Ajayi Okasanmi, who confirmed the incident, said in an update on the boat accident in Patigi that 103 people died.
Okasannmi said, “The names of survivors will be made public as soon as they are available.”
PUNCH Metro’s investigation revealed that about 50 bodies of passengers have been recovered from the incident, which reportedly plunged the entire local government area into mourning.
Though the Kwara State Police Command could not yet give details of the incident, the Transition Implementation Committee Chairman, Patigi LGA, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Liman, said that about 110 passengers reportedly died in the accident.
Liman, while quoting from a statement by one Alhassan Bala Mohammed, a community leader in the area, said, “About 110 people died in the boat mishap in our area. We’re going to tell you about the tragedy and unforgettable memory that occurred to my people from our village and other neighbouring villages close to us.
“Our village people went to a wedding ceremony in another village called Gboti and the boat carried about 270 people, and almost 110 people were lost.”
Liman said from their record, 61 villagers from his village, Ebu, died in the incident; 38 from Gakpan; four from Kpada, two from Kuchalu and one from Sampi.
“This is an unforgettable memory and tragedy in the history of our village,” he said.
Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Bologi II, the paramount ruler of the area, confirmed the incident, while the state governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, issued a message of condolences to the relatives of the victims.
The incident, according to checks, happened on Monday when the victims were returning from a marriage ceremony at neighbouring Egboti village in Niger State.
It was also gathered that a river wave took control of the boat, which eventually hit a tree, leading to the boat capsizing and throwing many people into the river.
Sources in the village told our correspondent that the deceased had taken off from Kpada village to be part of the marriage ceremony at Egboti village.
Sources attributed the accident to the overloading of the boat, adding that the boat capsized during the return trip from the venue of the marriage ceremony.
The Emir of Ilorin and Chairman of the Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Mai-Martaba Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR, described the boat accident as unfortunate and disheartening.
The Emir made the statement, in a statement issued on Tuesday by his spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona.
Sulu-Gambari, who extended the condolences of the entire members of the Kwara State Traditional Rulers Council to the Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim Bologi II, the government and people of the state over the incident, prayed for the families of victims of the boat mishap for God’s comfort at this trying time.
“Our hearts and prayers are with you at this auspicious moment and may Almighty Allah give you all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss this incident might cause you”, the Emir said.
He prayed to Allah to grant the deceased eternal rest with mercies and forgiveness and give their loved ones the fortitude to bear the great loss.
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