Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
No fewer than 40 persons, including mourners and market women, were feared dead when a boat conveying them suddenly disappeared on River Katsina-Ala at Abuku/Buruku harbour in Benue State.
The incidence was said to have happened, on Wednesday evening, at about 7:00pm.
The Daily Sun gathered that the missing persons from Gonduzua Village, in Logo Local Government Area of the state were on their way for a burial in Buruku, a neighbouring local government area.
The boat was also said to be conveying market women, who were closing from Ugba Market in the same Logo local government area.
Also on board were unconfirmed number of motorcycles and riders even as locals said no single body had been recovered from the river at the time of filing this report.
Daily Sun reports that this is the highest number of casualties from a boat mishap in the area.
It would be recalled that in 2012, 17 persons were during when a boat conveying them capsized while the victims were returning from a picnic in the area.
Meanwhile, Special Adviser to Benue State Governor on Religious Affairs and Civil Society, Rev. J. Aernyi (JP) has described Wednesday’s River Buruku mishap as ‘very unfortunate’.
The Governor’s aide confirmed the incident, on Thursday, in his office, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Aernyi said Nakombo told him on phone that, a boat conveying many passengers who were attending a burial and some Bajaj motorcycles,on Wednesday evening, capsized.
The Special Adviser noted with dismay the continuous loss of lives and property at River Buruku stressing that, it was high time adequate measures were taken.
Rev. Aernyi appealed to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, construct a solid bridge at River Buruku to prevent future re-occurrence.
He finally enjoined families who lost their loved ones in the incident to take solace in the fact that, all mortals on earth were living on a temporary basis. He prayed God to console them.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Yamu, confirmed the report, but added that 13 persons and 18 motorcycles were lost in the boat mishap.
According to Yamu, “13 persons and 18 motorcycles were lost in a boat mishap while crossing river Buruku from Abuku heading to Buruku town on 24/10/28 at about 20:30hrs.
“Three corpses have so far been recovered and deposited at the hospital meanwhile, CP. Ene okon has ordered immediate investigation into the cause of the unfortunate incident,” Yamu said.