By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” Alarmed by the recent boat mishap that claimed several lives in Benue State, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Terseer Tsumba, has lamented the development and urged boat operators in the state to observe strict safety measures in order to avert further loss of lives at River Katsina-Ala.
Mr. Tsumba who gave the charge, weekend, at the Palace of the Paramount ruler of Buruku, the Ter Buruku, while donating 37 life jackets to the Tombo Maritime Association, urged the association to observe best practices in the discharge of their functions.
He noted that the people could not afford a further waste of innocent lives occasioned by boat mishaps in the area hence his move to provide the association the safety wears.
The Speaker hinted that an indigene of the area based in Port Harcourt contributed 10 of the jackets, his friends from the United States of America and the United Kingdom gave seven while he provided 20.
According to him, â€œthese were donations from my brothers in the Diaspora, some people from the UK and some from the United States.â€
Tsumba enjoined members of the association to ensure that every person who crosses the river on their boats puts on a jacket which he said must be given free of charge.
The Speaker said the donation was their contribution to safety measures at the Buruku crossing point of River Katsina-Ala which in recent times has claimed lives.
He said it was imperative to use the jackets in order to minimize drowning in case of accident while crossing the river as well as in compliance with best practices all over the civilised world.
In their separate responses, Ter Buruku, Chief Afaityo Ajoko, on behalf of traditional rulers in the area, and Chairman of Buruku Local Government Area, Mr. Alfred Akighir expressed appreciation to the donors for the gesture.
They, however, requested the Federal Government to build a bridge across the river at the point as a permanent solution to problems associated with crossing over to the other side.
Dignitaries present on the occasion included the People’s Democratic Party State Secretary, Mr. Bem Dzoho, traditional rulers as well as other prominent indigenes of the area.