The Taraba State Government has confirmed the recovery of over 20 bodies of victims following a recent boat mishap in the region. This information was disclosed by the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties and Social Development, Saviour Noku. The revelation came shortly after a visit to the Binneri community, the location where the boat capsized on the previous Saturday.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
During the visit, the state’s Deputy Governor, Aminu Alkali, after conducting an on-the-spot assessment and offering condolences to the affected community and families, announced the prohibition of night journeys on waterways.
The Deputy Governor was informed upon his arrival that barricades set up by fishermen to trap fish were the primary cause of the mishap. He directed that all such barricades along waterways be cleared within seven days.
He further emphasized that the state government would no longer tolerate overloading of boats or canoes, movement without passenger manifests, or journeys without life jackets. He asserted that the government would conduct a thorough investigation to determine the root cause of the boat mishap and appropriately punish those responsible.
He stated, “Our visit here is to ensure three principal issues: to stop overloading, to ensure that there will be no more night traveling, and the canoes or boats must have passenger manifests so that whatever happens we can easily identify one’s relations. They should also ensure they have life jackets for passengers for protection because not all persons can swim. The colossal loss witnessed in the state is regrettable, and the government has directed that the barricades be removed within seven days.”
Some of the passengers who drowned are gradually surfacing and decomposing on the water’s surface. Investigations have indicated that the boat was overloaded with bags of cement, building materials, food items, animals, and over 100 passengers, including children. The accident occurred when the boat struck a wooden barricade on the waterways, causing it to capsize.
A community member who spoke anonymously revealed that the figure of daily casualties is rising, but community leaders are concealing the actual number to avoid scrutiny by the state government for overloading.
The boat’s rider explained that, two hours after departure, they encountered a barricade and attempted to maneuver, but were unsuccessful. As a result, the boat began taking on water. He stated that approximately 50 to 60 passengers drowned, while some who held onto others who knew how to swim managed to reach the riverbank.
One of the victims’ relatives, Suleiman Audu, lost his sister and her baby in the accident. He explained that he was at the riverbank when the boat departed from Mayoreniyo and was alerted five hours later that his sister and baby had not reached their destination.
The residents of the area acknowledged that this was not the first such incident but expressed gratitude that it was the first time the state government had visited to offer condolences. They are now urging the complete removal of fishermen’s barricades to prevent future accidents.