By Ahmed Kingimi
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – The death toll from an overloaded boat that capsized in a remote part of Nigeria’s north central region has risen to more than 100, police and officials said on Wednesday, in one of the worst such disasters in recent years.
The wooden boat was ferrying people to Kwara state across a river from neighbouring Niger state after a wedding ceremony when it capsized on Monday night.
Kwara state police spokesperson Ajayi Okasanmi told Reuters on Wednesday that 103 people had been confirmed dead.
“The names of survivors will be made public as soon as they are available,” Okasami said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were in the boat, but some residents put the figure at more than 200.
Alhaji Bologi, the emir of Patigi district which includes the villages from where the passengers had lived, said he had received information that 150 people had drowned while 53 had been rescued.
Fearing abductions by armed gangs on the roads, many Nigerians use boats to travel. Overcrowding and poor maintenance are responsible for most boat accidents on Nigerian waterways.