By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
No fewer than 19 children have been reportedly drowned in a boat mishap on Saturday in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area (LGA) of Kwara State.
The boat, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt, was conveying the victims across River Niger for a programme at a traditional wedding ceremony in a community in Niger State.
The boat, conveying about 22 people mostly children, capsized while crossing the river. A source said while two of the passengers were rescued, the 19 others drowned and died.
According to him, all effort to rescue other passengers proved abortive.“As at yesterday evening, four corpses have been recovered from the river.
“Effort would resume this morning again to ensure that others also are found.
“Both men of the Nigeria Police and the State Fire Service were there yesterday in the rescue mission.
“Unfortunately only two of them survived,” the source said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Lafiagi Traditional Council, Sulyman Aliyu, has confirmed the incident.
Aliyu said the number of the victims could not be ascertained yet, noting that there was a conflict in the number.
“Definitely they are up to 12. The figure is between 12 and that 19 that you said,” he said.The secretary also confirmed that four corpses were recovered on Saturday and that efforts to remove others would continue yesterday. The Public Relations Officer of the Kwara Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, also confirmed the incident.
He said the officers of the force and other security agencies had joined the local government council to recover the corpses.
He, however, said the number of the passengers and the victims could not yet be ascertained as the recovery exercise was still ongoing.