Catastrophic Boat Accident Leaves Over 70 Missing in Nigeria

Ardo-Kola, Nigeria – A devastating boat accident in northern Nigeria’s Ardo-Kola district has left over 70 people missing. The incident occurred on the Benue River, one of the nation’s largest waterways, involving a vessel packed with traders returning from a fish market. The capsizing represents a recurring disaster in areas where transport via rivers is common but perilous.

The boat, carrying more than 100 passengers, capsized late Saturday. In the immediate aftermath, 14 individuals were rescued, and 17 bodies were recovered, according to Ladan Ayuba, head of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency. Authorities and local fishermen are continuing the search, but the high river flow and challenging conditions have hindered rescue efforts.

Taraba Governor Agbu Kefas has labeled the accident a “monumental tragedy,” advocating for mandatory life jacket usage among boat passengers. This recent calamity underscores the broader issue of safety in river transport across Nigeria, often marred by overloading and inadequate infrastructure. The event marks the third such incident in just four months involving vessels carrying over 100 individuals.

The lack of reliable road networks in remote regions of Nigeria exacerbates reliance on river transport. Taraba police spokesperson Usman Abdullahi expressed fears regarding the duration and success of the ongoing search operation, as recovery efforts are expected to be extensive due to the river’s current strength.

Investigations into the exact cause of the disaster are underway, highlighting a critical need for improved safety measures and infrastructure to prevent future tragedies. Meanwhile, the community mourns, reflecting on the recurring losses faced in these waterway accidents.