Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has commiserated with the Emir of Lafiagi, Alhaji Saadu Kawu Haliru, on the death of some indigenes in a boat mishap at the Chewuru Ferry Port.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, the governor described the death of the victims as unfortunate and a great loss to their families, the Emirate and the state.
“I deeply sympathise and empathise with the Emir, the good people of Lafiagi and the families of the victims,” Ahmed said.
He urged families of the victims to take solace in the fact that death is an inevitable end of all mortals.
Ahmed prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and give the families and the Emirate the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Nineteen persons, mostly children, drowned in the boat mishap on Saturday in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The boat, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt, was reportedly conveying the victims across River Niger for a traditional wedding ceremony in a community in Niger State.
It was said to be conveying 22 people when it capsized.
A source said that while two of the passengers were rescued, the 19 others drowned.
According to him, efforts to rescue other passengers proved abortive.
“As at yesterday (Saturday) evening, four bodies had been recovered from the river.
“Efforts 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 told NAN on Sunday.
Also, Alhaji Sulyman Aliyu, the Secretary of the Lafiagi Traditional Council, confirmed the incident.
Aliyu told NAN that 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 bodies were recovered on Saturday and that efforts to remove others continued yesterday.
Police spokesman Ajayi Okasanmi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), also confirmed the incident.
He told NAN that the officers of the force and other security agencies had joined the local government area to recover the bodies.
Okasanmi added that the number of the passengers and the victims could not be ascertained as the recovery efforts continued.