BY PETER DURU
Two days after the Boxing Day boat mishap that claimed the lives of over 40 persons at River Buruku, in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State, the state Police Command says it has recovered 17 bodies from the river.
The State police public relations officer, PPRO, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Daniel Ezeala, who spoke yesterday in a telephone interview in Makurdi ,said search and rescue operation was still going on at scene of the disaster.
His words, “We have so far recovered 17 bodies from the river but we are still continuing with the search and rescue operation until we are convinced that there are no survivors or bodies in the river.
”I can also assure you that we have commenced investigations into the matter with a view to finding the immediate and remote causes of the tragedy.”
Meantime, Buruku has been in a somber mood since the tragedy. Many families were yet to come to terms with the Boxing Day disaster that claimed the lives of young men and women of the area.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that families of the deceased have been making frantic efforts to identify the remains of their loved ones who have so far been recovered from the scene of the accident.
However, those who had not seen their children since the tragedy have continually besieged the Buruku police station to make inquiries.
Speaking to Sunday Vanguard, James Ajor, who said he lost two of his friends to the disaster, wept uncontrollably as he disclosed that the duo were also part of the committee of friends who recently supported him to solemnize his wedding.
”This is a major tragedy in our state because most families in the area have been directly or indirectly touched by this disaster. It is even more painful when one realizes that people are daily ferried across the river without life jackets and the authorities did not deem it fit to call the ferry operators to order”, Ajor said..
”I lost two of my very close friends in this disaster. They were young promising men who were full of life and contributed immensely to the success of my wedding ceremony.
”That is the more reason we will continue to urge the federal government to construct a bridge across River Buruku in order to avert further loss of lives there..