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Buhari mandates strict safety regulations on waterway after Niger boat mishap

By Idowu Abdullahi

President Muhammadu Buhari has placed enforcement of waterways safety regulations as top priority for stakeholders in the nation’s transportation sector, saying it was high time all options are explored in protecting operators and passengers plying the waterways.

He added that it was important for authorities in the sector to ensure stricter adherence to safety regulations on the nation’s waterways to prevent further avoidable loss of lives.

Buhari noted that the directive had become imperative following the boat mishap in Tijana village of Munya council area of Niger State over the weekend that left no fewer than 30 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) dead.

Through a statement on Monday to commiserate with Niger State Government and families of victims, the president assured people of the state of his administration’s commitment to restoring peace and stability to the state.

The president, who expressed sadness over the incident and extended his sympathies with the families of victims of the boat mishap, also prayed quick recovery for the wounded.

“President Muhammadu Buhari expresses immense grief on the boat mishap in Tijana village of Munya Local Government Area of Niger State and extends his heartfelt sympathies to the families of the dead and the injured.

“According to the President, this incident is more disheartening as the victims were reportedly Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“Commending the life-saving work of the first responders and local divers at the scene of the incident, the President wishes the wounded a speedy recovery and success on the search and rescue of some missing passengers on the capsized boat.

“President Buhari calls on the transportation authorities to ensure strict adherence to safety regulations on the nation’s waterways and urges that lessons from this accident should help prevent a future occurrence.

“He assures residents of Niger State that restoring long-term stability and peace is a core objective of the Federal Government, working with the State government and other critical stakeholders in the local communities,” the statement said.

It would be recalled that thirty were reported to have drowned after an overloaded boat capsized in Niger state.

Confirming the incident, the Niger State Emergency Agency’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Hussein, explained that the boat ferrying 100 local traders split into two after hitting a stump during a windstorm as they were returning from a market on Saturday.

“So far 30 bodies have been recovered and five are still missing. Sixty-five passengers were rescued with the help of local divers,” Hussein said.

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