Eight dead, 38 rescued as boat capsizes in Anambra

… Insecurity prevents emergency operations

CITIZENS COMPASS —The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Sunday, January 7, 2024, confirmed that eight persons were dead and 38 others rescued in a boat mishap that occurred in Anambra State.

NIWA General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Alhaji Jibril Darda’u, disclosed this in a statement issued in Lokoja on Sunday evening. 

Darda’u said that the “sad and unfortunate” incident occurred at Umumu Anam, Anambra West Local Government Area, ”between Thursday and Friday”.

He commiserated with the families and friends of the deceased and prayed to God to grant rest to their souls,” he said.

According to him, preliminary reports indicated that the “wooden engine boat rammed into a snag on the water channel and capsized with about 50 passengers on board.

He put the detail toll at eight saying 38 others were rescued. “The sad incident involved a passenger boat travelling from Idah in Kogi to Onitsha in Anambra.

“Upon the receipt of the sad report, relevant personnel from the Marine Department were deployed for rescue, recovery and proper investigation.

“The recovery efforts are ongoing and the authority will provide detailed information to the public as soon as the field officers report back to the headquarters,” Darda’u said.

He, however, assured the public of NIWA’s commitment and determination to do everything possible to ensure safer inland waterways for the movement of people and goods. 

Meanwhile, both the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) were yet to access the scene of the incident owing to the lingering insecurity in the State. 

It was learnt NEMA which operates from Enugu would be travelling to Anambra on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 to access the scene. 

In the late hours on Sunday, a senior officer in NEMA which pleaded anonymity told Citizens Compass that the Agency could not travel on Monday due to the Sit-at-Home mantra in Anambra State and its environ. 

“Our safety first. We cannot travel to Anambra on Monday because of the Sit-at-Home and thst is why we cannot provide any update about the boat mishap. 

“We have called the local government chairman in the area who assured us that the Police are on top of the situation. “

Spokesman, Anambra State Police Command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga,  said the situation was under control.

He said, “The situation is under control. Our marine operatives, on getting the distress call about the incident, responded swiftly.

“We were able to rescue over 30 of the passengers and recovered the five lifeless bodies in the depths of the sea and the capsized boat. “Preliminary information revealed that the boat was from Kogi State, conveying goods and passengers before the unfortunate incident occurred.


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