Boat sinking in rivers is common in Nigeria as a result of overloading, lax safety measures and floods that ravage the country during the rainy season.
The death toll from a boat sinking in a river in Nigeria has risen to 106 as rescue teams continue to search for survivors, police said Wednesday.
The boat carrying about 250 people returning from a wedding party capsized in the early hours of Monday in Kwara state (north-central).
The sinking of boats in rivers is common in Nigeria as a result of overloading, lax application of safety measures and floods that sweep the country during the rainy season.
“Part of the boat near the engine end collapsed as water penetrated the boat, eventually causing it to capsize,” Kwara Okasanmi Ajayi police spokesman said in a statement.
“All efforts to attract the attention of the villagers hosting the wedding party to help the people on the boat failed, resulting in the death of about 106 people,” he said. About half of the dead are from one village.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu offered his condolences to the families of the victims on Wednesday and said his government would look into improving the safety of water transport inland.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the tragic boat accident that claimed the lives of our people in Kwara State. The unfortunate incident is all the more heartbreaking given that the victims were guests at a wedding,” he said in a statement.
The Kwara State Governor’s Office announced that the victims were returning from a wedding to Batigi district of Kwara.
River navigation is common in Nigeria, but accidents are common too.
Last month, 15 children drowned and about 20 were missing after their overloaded boat sank in Sokoto state (northwest) while they were collecting firewood.
Almost a year earlier, 29 children from a nearby village drowned in the same river while also on a trip to collect firewood for their families.
During massive floods that swept the country during the rainy season in December, at least 76 people died when their boat sank in a swollen river in Anambra state.
The Nigerian Waterways Authority has tried in the past to ban night sailing on rivers to prevent accidents and stresses that it is against the law to overload vessels, rules that are often flouted.