The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has begun preliminary investigations into last weekend’s boat accident that killed more than 100 persons at Egbu village, Patigi local government area of Kwara State.
The Director-General of the agency, Mr. George Moghalu, disclosed this to journalists on Sunday in Ilorin after an on-the-spot assessment of the incident scene.
A boat carrying more than 250 passengers returning from a wedding ceremony at a community in Niger State capsized in the middle of the river at the community.
At least 106 bodies were recovered by emergency responders while 144 others survived the accident.
Moghalu said he was in the community to find out the cause of the accident and put plans in place to stem future re-occurrence.
The NIWA boss said preliminary investigation had revealed that the accident was caused by a human error.
He added that the vessel involved in the accident was on the water outside the approved time of operation.
READ ALSO: Kwara boat mishap death toll hits 106
Moghalu said: “There is a standard protocol that after 6:00 p.m., we don’t allow boats to operate on our waterways.
“Because experiences have shown that over 90 to 95 percent of accidents on our waterways happened in the night or very early hours in the morning.
“The reason is very simple, these vessels don’t have night navigation aides, and the vessel in question was heavily overloaded.
“There was no reason for the vessel to carry over 250 passengers and apart from the passengers, there were other luggage.
“Most unfortunately also, all the passengers were not wearing life jackets and it was on a very raining night and the downpour came with wind.”
He confirmed that NIWA donated life jackets to the community and promised to provide more life-saving equipment to prevent avoidable loss of lives.
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