Between 150 and 156 people are feared dead in a boat mishap in Warrah, headquarters of Ngaski Local Government Area of Kebbi State, on Wednesday.
The Chairman of Warrah Local Government Council, Alhaji Abdullahi Haruna, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
In a statement of sympathy, President Muhammadu Buhari described the news of the capsizing of the boat as devastating.
He offered his heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected by this tragedy.
‘From media reports, there are indications that the boat was overloaded and there is no official confirmation on the number of casualties’, the presidency statement said.
‘While efforts are ongoing to recover more survivors, the President extends his gratitude to all those involved in the rescue efforts and wishes those injured from the accident quick recovery”.
Warrah LGA boss Haruna said the accident happened on Wednesday at about 11 a.m.
The chairman however said 22 people who wore life jackets had been rescued from the mishap.
He assured that search and rescue was ongoing with a view to saving the lives of those missing.
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) declared 156 people missing in the boat mishap.
Mr Yusuf Birma, NIWA area manager in Yauri Kebbi State, disclosed this, adding that the accident was caused by overloading.
From across Kebbi state border, Niger State officials also gave their version of the boat mishap.
Alhaji Ahmed Inga, Director-General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) said the passengers were mainly women and children.
They were travelling from Niger to Kebbi on Wednesday morning when the vessel capsized.
He said the agency received report of boat mishap that occurred around 8 a.m, adding that the boat was said to have taken off at Loko Minna in Niger, by 7:30 a.m.
Inag said that the boat was carrying more than 180 passengers and most of the passengers were from Kebbi heading to a market.
He said the cause of the accident was as a result of overloading and old age of the boat.
The director-general said more than 20 people had been rescued and four bodies recovered.
He said that search and rescue operation was ongoing by the Marine police and other agencies.