At least, not less than 20 lives were lost in a boat accident along the Andoni waterways in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Tuesday night.
The Executive Chairman of Andoni LGA, Erastus Awortu, expressed shock and issued a statement early Wednesday, extending condolences to the victims’ families and communities.
Awortu detailed the efforts made by the council to rescue survivors, provide first aid to the injured, and recover the bodies from the river. The tragedy unfolded after successful festive events, including unification carnivals in the region.
Expressing deep pain, Awortu emphasized the importance of boat operators adhering to safety procedures and strongly discouraged nighttime sea travel.
The statement concluded with a commitment from the Local Government to support the grieving families and communities during these challenging times.
It reads, “We received with rude shock and deep pain a disturbing report that over 20 people from Andoni are feared dead in a boat mishap involving two Andoni/Bonny-bound boats that occurred within the Andoni waterways on Tuesday January 9, 2024,” the statement stated.
“When we learned of the tragic development, we immediately dispatched our team to join the first responders on a rescue mission at the scene of the incident in an attempt to salvage the situation.
“Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and communities, particularly those in Ngo Town, Ataba, Isiama, and other communities where loved ones were involved in the boat mishap.
“We share their anguish and trauma, and our prayers and thoughts are with them during this difficult time.
“As a Local Government, we will do everything we can to alleviate the grief of bereaved families and communities.
“We also warn the operators to desist from embarking on night journey on sea.”
By Alexandra Dominic-Chukwu
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