Over 100 people lost their lives when an “overloaded boat” carrying wedding guests “capsized in northern Nigeria.”
Officials confirmed on Tuesday that over 100 individuals, including children, lost their lives when an overloaded boat, returning from a wedding, overturned in northern Nigeria. The incident occurred early Monday in the Pategi district of Kwara State, specifically on the Niger River. As rescue operations continued, authorities and local residents tirelessly searched for numerous individuals who were aboard the overcrowded boat, as reported by police spokesman Okasanmi Ajayi in an interview with the Associated Press. Ajayi stated that up to this point, 100 people had been successfully rescued. According to eyewitnesses from the area, the wooden boat was transporting passengers from Niger State to Kwara State after a wedding ceremony when it tragically capsized on Monday night, as reported by Reuters.
The Kwara state government issued a statement expressing deep sorrow over the devastating news and highlighting ongoing rescue efforts. In the same statement, the governor conveyed his condolences to the affected families, acknowledging the possibility of survivors still being found. The victims primarily consisted of relatives from various villages who had attended the wedding together and stayed late into the night. Due to heavy rainfall, their means of transportation changed from motorcycles to the local boat, which unfortunately proved fatal. Local chief Abdul Gana Lukpada explained that the boat was overloaded, carrying nearly 300 passengers, and struck a large log in the water, causing it to split in two.
In accordance with local customs, the bodies that had been recovered by Tuesday evening were laid to rest, mostly near the river. Kwara Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s office expressed profound sadness for the families of the deceased and assured that the rescue efforts would continue to be closely monitored.
Boat accidents are not uncommon in remote areas of Nigeria, where locally made vessels are frequently utilised for transportation. These incidents are often attributed to overloading and the use of poorly maintained boats.