100 dead and more missing in Nigeria

niger river

The Niger River is a vital mode of transport in many parts of Nigeria

More than 100 people have drowned and others are missing after a boat carrying them on the Niger River in southwestern Nigeria capsized, authorities say.

The vessel was carrying over 300 passengers traveling from Kwara State to Niger State after a wedding ceremony.

Search and rescue efforts were trying to find more victims, officials said.

The boat capsized after hitting a tree, a local traditional leader said.

“Dozens of people were reportedly killed and many more [are] still missing,” a statement from Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said on Tuesday.

The Emir of Patigi, Ibrahim Umar Bologi II – the traditional ruler of the area where it happened – said more than 150 people had died.

He told reporters that the waves of the river had overtaken the boat and forced it to crash into a tree which had washed into the river, causing the boat to capsize.

A Kwara state police spokesman told AFP news agency that the death toll was likely to rise as search and rescue efforts continued.

Mr AbdulRazaq offered his “sincere condolences” to the relatives of the victims – and said rescuers were continuing to search for survivors.

River accidents in this part of Nigeria are frequent.

Residents of villages along the Niger River, which runs through the center of the country, often use the river as it can be faster than roads, which are often poorly maintained and dangerous due to the presence of gangs of kidnappers.

However, boat operators often overload their rickety vessels in an effort to make more money.

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