•President orders investigation into recurring incidents
Deji Elumoye, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Daji Sani in Yola
President Bola Tinubu, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas and the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, yesterday, extended theirheartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, who died in the recent boat mishaps in Mokwa Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State and Gurin village, in Fufore LGA of Adamawa State.
While expressing solidarity with the governments and people of the two states as they swiftly mobilised emergency response teams and volunteers to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the incidents, the president, according to a release by his Media Adviser, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, wished a most speedy recovery to those who were injured.
President Tinubu, who further demanded a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the recurring tragedy of fatal boat incidents across the nation, was sad over the tragedy that claimed many lives, including several children.
The President directed various government agencies, including law enforcement, maritime safety and transportation safety authorities to collaborate closely in identifying the root causes of these unfortunate and preventable disasters.
He underscored his commitment to holding government agencies accountable for any regulatory or safety lapses and further instructed a comprehensive review of safety measures and a strict enforcement of existing laws on boating activities in the country.
The president further assured the affected families and communities of government’s continued support and his commitment to the prevention of such tragic incidents from occurring in the future.
Abbas, while reacting specifically to the incidents, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi, called for collective efforts by both the government and the boat operators towards safeguarding the lives and properties on Nigerian waterways.
He condemned a situation where water transportation, which served as an alternative to road and rail for the movement of people and goods, was now recording mishaps, and therefore, urged the relevant authorities to consider a review of the operational standards, while seeking strict adherence to all safety measures by both the boat operators and the passengers.
Meanwhile, Fintiri, on his part, has directed the enforcement of regulations on operations of inland waterways commercial transportation as a measure to curtail water accidents on small rivers that flows into the River Benue.
The governor gave the directive at the palace of the District Head of Gurin, in Fufore Local Government Area, when he paid a visit to condole the community.
Aside directing all relevant government agencies to swing into action with immediate effect to enforce the regulations across waterways in the state, he also ordered traditional rulers and local government authorities to ensure strict compliance of the regulations when put in place, especially checkmating overloading, for the safety of their people.
Fintiri revealed government’s plans to provide live jackets to passengers of boats at crossing points in Adamawa, saying such measure would help reduce loss of lives when such incidents occur.