By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin—No fewer than 19 children drowned in a boat mishap on Saturday in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the boat was conveying the children across River Niger to a traditional wedding in a community in Niger, when the tragedy occurred.
The boat was reportedly conveying about 21 people mostly children, when it suddenly capsized.
A source told Vanguard that while two of the passengers were rescued, 19 others drowned, stressing that all efforts to rescue other passengers proved abortive.
According to the source, “as at yesterday (Saturday) evening, four corpses have been recovered from the river. Efforts will resume this morning (yesterday) again to ensure that others are also found.
“Men of the Nigeria Police and the State Fire Service were part of the rescue mission. Unfortunately only two of them survived.”
Alhaji Sulyman Aliyu, the Secretary of the Lafiagi Traditional Council, has confirmed the incident.
Aliyu said the number of the victims could not be ascertained yet, noting that there was a conflict in the casualty figures.
He said: “Definitely, they are up to 12. The figure is between 12 and that 19 you mentioned.”
Alhaji Aliyu also confirmed that four corpses were recovered on Saturday and that efforts to recover others continued yesterday.
Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer of Kwara Command, DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, also confirmed the incident.
He said the officers of the force and other security agencies had joined the local government council to recover the corpses.
He, however, said that the number of the passengers and the victims could not yet be ascertained yet, as the recovery exercise was still ongoing at press time.