2 dead, 21 others missing in Benue boat mishap

A boat sailing on the sea
Tochi Juliet

A locally made boat conveying mainly members of the ECAN Church Ijaha in Makurdi Local Government Area capsized on River Benue on Sunday.

It was gathered that the incident happened about 2:00 pm at the Kwaghter axis in Makurdi area of the riverside.

The boat was conveying members of the ECAN Church for meeting across the river when it sank at Kwaghtan Sule in Guma LGA.

According to the source, the canoe which had a carrying capacity of not more than 15 passengers was overload with over 30 passengers and midway into the journey it sank.

"The number of people in that canoe cannot be ascertained because the operators do not keep records of the number of passengers that get on board, but they may be over 30 in that boat which should carry more than 15 passengers.

Though two persons were rescued alive, some others have not been seen, but the search is still ongoing, and it is being carried out by local fishermen and the police,” the source said.

Police spokesperson in Benue Command, DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the incident, said that at about 2:30 pm, information was received that 23 members of ECAN Church Ijaha in Makurdi LGA boarded a boat to attend a conference across River Benue.

"At the midstream, the boat sank into the river. Marine Police search party were deployed to the scene where two persons were rescued alive while 21 persons are still missing," she said.

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has deeply sympathised with families of the 23 victims.

The Governor who described the incident as painful and unfortunate, particularly consoled with ECAN Church, Ijaha, Makurdi Local Government Area whose members were involved in the boat mishap.

He advised Benue people not to threw caution to the wind as it has been earlier announced about this year's weather predictions on torrential rains.

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