Femi Ogbonnikan In Abeokuta
No fewer than 11 persons have lost their lives as a boat conveying 29 passengers capsized on Tafa River, Maun in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Different accounts confirmed that the incident occurred on Friday night as a result of engine failure, while the boat was floating in the middle of the river.
An eye witness account told THISDAY that t h e boat which took off from Badagry, Lagos State and ferrying passengers and their goods was heading towards Maun in Ipokia.
The account said the passengers were mainly traders who were conveying their goods to a market in Badagry in Lagos, before the boat capsized, leaving 11 dead, 10 rescued alive while others were still missing.
The Police Public Relation Officer, Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the incident and blamed it on overload of the boat.
He said, “There was boat capsize. It was caused by overloading. The boat did not have light and travelled in the night. It had a head-on collision with a pillar in the river.
The passengers were coming from Badagry in Lagos to Ipokia. It was the last boat left and all the 29 traders boarded the boat. 11 persons died, while 16 others were rescued Friday night.
They were not wearing life jackets. Marine policemen had been deployed in the scene of the incident. Two are still missing. The engine crew man simply identified as Skipper has been arrested shortly after he escaped.
Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu has directed the DPO in-charge of the affected area to enforce the use of live jackets by the operators of boat outboard engines.
Remains of the deceased have been deposited at Ipokia morgue.
Meanwhile, the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has visited the site of the boat mishap.
Represented by a member representing Egbado South/Ipokia Federal Constituency, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, commiserated with the people of the community while pledging that the state government will commence regulating water way transport in the area and would provide life jackets for commuters.
He added that the use of life jacket would be made compulsory in accordance to the World Best practice.