Officials said that when the wooden boat carrying more than 150 passengers to the market sank, only 20 people were rescued.
On Thursday, an overcrowded riverboat sank, leaving more than 150 people missing and fearing drowning. Nigerian rescuers rescued three dozen bodies from the water.
Survivors and officials said only 20 people were rescued when the wooden boat transported passengers to the market on Wednesday. BShaky It travels between central Niger State and Vara in the northwestern part of Kebbi State.
“Nine more bodies have been found. So far, 45 bodies have been found. The search for more bodies is continuing,” Abu Bakar Shehu, a local official in charge of the rescue operation, told AFP.
Riverboat tragedies are common on Nigerian waterways, mainly due to overcrowding, weather and lack of maintenance, but the death toll on Wednesday will be one of the deadliest in recent years.
After the Inland Waterways Administration stated that only 20 people were rescued and another 156 were missing, President Muhammadu Buhari called the accident “destructive” on Wednesday.
Ali Ibrahim Garba, wearing an orange life jacket, was standing near the wooden boat on the river bank. He said rescuers were still looking for the missing after they rescued as many as possible.
“Now we are looking for three people, one man and two women,” he told AFP.
Yusuf Birma, the local manager of the NIWA agency, told reporters on Wednesday that the ship was packed with about 180 people and disembarked after an hour of sailing.
The local chief executive Abdullahi Buhari Wara (Abdullahi Buhari Wara) said that the ship was also full of sandbags from gold mines.
NIWA has banned navigating on rivers at night to prevent accidents, and stated that overloading ships is a criminal offence, but captains and crew often ignore these regulations.
In early May, an overloaded ship capsized in Niger State, causing 30 people to drown.
When they returned from the local market, the ship carrying 100 local merchants split into two halves during the storm.
Niger is the main river in West Africa, passing through Guinea to the Niger Delta of Nigeria, and is an important local trade route for some countries.