By LOD Onyeji
In a heartbreaking incident, the Badagry waterways claimed the life of yet another fisherman. The unfortunate incident serves as a grim reminder of the dangers lurking in these treacherous waters. Shockingly, last year in April, 29 individuals met a similar fate, losing their lives in drowning incidents. The perils of water transportation cannot be understated, as demonstrated by this tragic event.
Adding to the sorrow, a recent boat accident in the Dandeji River of Sokoto State resulted in the deaths of 17 young boys and girls. The boat they were traveling in capsized, thrusting them into the unforgiving waters. The local authorities swiftly responded to the calamity, with Alhaji Aliyu Dantani, the Council Chairman, confirming the incident to the press.
According to Chairman Dantani, the accident occurred on a fateful Tuesday morning. Local divers promptly evacuated the lifeless bodies and adhered to Islamic rites by conducting their burials at approximately 2:30 p.m. The Chairman disclosed that the ill-fated group comprised around 40 youngsters who were en route to collect firewood from a nearby bush when the tragedy struck.
Although some passengers managed to swim to safety, the search for the remaining victims continued. Mamman Ibrahim, a resident of the area, revealed that the accident was reported by a canoe owner. Regrettably, only 17 corpses have been recovered thus far, leaving local divers tirelessly scouring the waters in search of other unfortunate souls.
Tragically, the memory of a similar incident lingers in the minds of the community. On April 13, 2022, a boat mishap in Gidan Magana village claimed the lives of 29 individuals, the majority of whom were teenagers. These young victims, also on a mission to gather firewood, met an untimely demise. This tragic event serves as a somber reminder of the customary activity that children in the region engage in due to limited access to education.
As communities mourn the loss of these precious lives, it is imperative to reflect on the need for enhanced safety measures and improved transportation infrastructure. Authorities and stakeholders must collaborate to ensure the safety of individuals traveling through waterways, particularly those engaged in essential activities such as firewood collection. The untimely deaths of these fishermen and young boys and girls should serve as a wake-up call to prioritize the welfare and protection of all who rely on these vital water routes. Only through concerted efforts can we hope to prevent such heartrending incidents from recurring and spare families the pain of losing their loved ones in such tragic circumstances.