The Chairman of the Governing Council of the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), Joseph Ityav, has disclosed that no fewer than 350 passengers died and several others sustained injuries during boat mishaps recorded across Nigeria.
Ityav said that the casualties figure were collated from the boat mishaps that occurred across the country between the 1st of January and 31st of December 2020.
The chairman disclosed the statistics on Saturday at the flag-off of the cutting of tree logs and removal of debris on Kainji and Shiroro Lakes held in Malale, Borgu local government area of Niger State.
While disclosing that the project was being executed in partnership with the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), he blamed most of the mishaps on poor conditions of boats, overloading, unavailability of life jackets, and the preponderance of tree logs on the waterways.
The commission boss said that the cutting of the tree logs and removal of debris would reduce boat mishaps and the hardships faced by riverine communities on waterways across the country.
Earlier, the Managing Director of HYPPADEC, Abubakar Yelwa, said that the Commission would address ecological and environmental issues and loss of lives which resulted from the construction of the Kainji and Shiroro Dams.
Yelwa commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for signing the Act setting up HYPPADEC, which began operations in 2020 to address the challenges of impacted communities.
The Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Abdullahi Sabi, explained that HYPPADEC’s projects would help to address challenges faced by communities in the hydro-power generating areas.
Sabi, who was represented by Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, and Benue State’s former governor, Gabriel Suswan, said that the National Assembly would continue to support HYPPADEC to achieve its objectives.
It would be recalled that Kainji Dam was constructed on River Niger in 1964 at a cost of $209 million and was inaugurated four years after, 1968, while the Shiroro Dam was constructed also on the River Niger, in Kaduna State, southwest of Abuja in 1983.