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Boat Carrying Wedding Guests Capsizes In Nigeria, Over 100 Dead

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Boat Carrying Wedding Guests Capsizes In Nigeria, Over 100 Dead

Nigeria Boat Accident: So far 103 people dead and over 100 rescued, official said. (Representational)

More than 100 people have drowned in north central Nigeria after a boat carrying families returning from a wedding sank in a river, police and local authorities said on Tuesday.

Details about the accident in Kwara State were still emerging, but it was the latest boat tragedy in Nigeria where river capsizes are common due to overloading, lax safety procedures and heavy flooding in the rainy season.

The river boat was ferrying people in Kwara State from a wedding in neighbouring Niger State when it went down, local state police and the governor’s office said, without giving details of the cause.

“So far we have 103 people dead and over 100 rescued from the boat accident,” Kwara State police spokesman Okasanmi Ajayi told AFP by telephone.

“Search and rescue is still ongoing which means the toll is likely to rise.”

Kwara State governor’s office did not give a toll, but said the victims had been returning from a wedding ceremony to Kwara’s Patigi district.

“The Governor is sad to receive reports of the boat accident involving several people, particularly residents of Ebu, Dzakan, Kpada, Kuchalu, and Sampi, all in Patigi,” the statement said.

“The Governor sends his heartfelt condolences to the people of these communities.”

Last month, 15 children drowned and 25 others went missing after their overloaded boat capsized in northwest Sokoto State as they were on their way to collect firewood.

Almost exactly a year earlier, another 29 children from a nearby village also drowned in the same river as they were on a trip to collect firewood for their families.

During massive flooding in the rainy season last December, at least 76 people drowned when their boat went down in a swollen river in southeast Anambra State.

With poor road infrastructure a common problem and kidnapping for ransom a major issue along some highways, river boat travel for transport and trade is common in Nigeria.

The Niger River is West Africa’s main waterway running in a crescent through Guinea to Nigeria’s Niger Delta and is a key local trade route for some of the countries.

Nigeria’s National Inland Waterways Authority has tried to ban night-time sailing on rivers to stop accidents and says overloading ships is a criminal offence, but skippers and crews often ignore the regulations.

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