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Canoe Capsizes, claims 8 lives in Kebbi amidst flooding disaster

NEWSMAN, Kebbi – At least eight people comprising women and children were drowned into a river after a canoe capsized at Tungar-Gegero in Jega Local Government Area of Kebbi State on Wednesday Morning.

Confirming the incident to journalists in Birnin Kebbi, chairman of the Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Sani Dododo, said that the incident occurred at about 10:30 am at Tungar-Gegero in Jega Local Government Area, where eight people lost their lives to a canoe mishap.

“Women and children about ten of them were on board with only one operator, a middle-aged man and he was trying to transport the people to a naming ceremony.

“They have started the journey and crossed to the other bank of the stream successfully, but on their way back the canoe capsized and all the occupants were drowned in the water,” he added.

Dododo, who said that the operator was able to save two women, stated that the remaining eight including children were all drowned in the water, Guardian reported.

He said the agency was able to recover four corpses comprising three adults and a baby girl, as searching for the remaining bodies was still on.

“We are making frantic efforts to recover the remaining corpses, I have spoken to Sarkin Kafin Jega, who is the District Head of the area as well as the Council Chairman, Jega Local Government Area,” Dododo said.

“In line with this, professional traditional fishermen have already been mobilised to search for the remaining bodies.

“They have started from that Tungar-Gegeru down to Kimba to Jega bridge to Mungadi because all these places are in the same terrain of the water.

“Normally, if there is this kind of capsizing, you can not find the bodies in the same place a day after, but such bodies may be recovered far away from the scene of the accident,” he said.

The Chairman assured that additional hands have been engaged towards the recovery of the corpses, with the assistance from the Inland Waterways in the recovery of the bodies.

He said the agency was also getting in touch with the local government authorities as well as the head of the social mobilisation of the council for additional support.

Dododo appealed to the families of the victims to take heart and accept the ugly incident in good faith and prayed to God Almighty to give the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari lamented the recent floods in Kebbi State which claimed lives and destroyed farmlands.

While regretting the lives lost, Buhari described the destruction of farmlands as a huge setback for his regime’s commitment to local production of food.

“I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation”.

“Kebbi State is the focal point of our policy to produce rice locally as part of this administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.

“With the loss of six lives and still counting; thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion Naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production”.

Buhari, while sympathising with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the floods, assured them that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State Government in order to bring relief to the victims”.

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