Niger State Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago has expressed shock over a boat mishap that claimed several lives in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State.
Governor Umaru Bago, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Bologi Ibrahim, described the incident as terrible and sorrowful.
According to him, "This is quite a shocking and sorrowful situation for the people of the affected communities, and I share in their grief. I pray that God will grant the deceased paradise".
While commiserating with the families of the victims, the governor directed the Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) to do the needful by ameliorating the sufferings of the people.
He also prayed that God would comfort the families of the deceased and grant quick recovery to those injured.
He, however, reiterated the importance of using life jackets when boarding a boat and urged people to desist from overloading boats.
It was reported that a boat carrying over 100 people onboard, including women and children from communities between Jebba and Kainji Dam, heading to the Old Gbajibo resettlement centre, capsized.
The victims, who were said to be from Gbajibo, Ekwa, and Yankyade communities, were going for farming activities when the incident occurred in the morning.
About 26 people, mostly women and children, have been confirmed dead and over 30 people have been rescued, while a combined rescue operation by marine police and local divers in collaboration with the Niger State Emergency Management Agency is ongoing.
Stakeholder forum of Limawa B Ward in Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger State has handed over palliative items to the distribution committee for onward distribution to the beneficiaries at the various polling unit levels.
Addressing some members of the committee who came to receive the items at his residence on Sunday morning, the Chairman of the stakeholders and former Chief of Staff to the former Governor of Niger State, Al-Amin Mika'il Bmitosahi, charged the distribution committee to be fair in their distribution.
He acknowledged that they received the sum of N20 million for Limawa B ward palliative out of the N220 million given to the 11 wards of the local government, and he said members of the stakeholders forum met and discussed how to utilise the share of Limawa B judiciously.
Mika'il Bmitosahi gave a breakdown of how the money was used to purchase the items handed over for distribution, disclosing that they bought 195 bags of 50kg polished rice at the rate of N9m, 50 bags of beans at the rate of N3m, 100 bags of gari at the rate of N4.7m, as well as 196 cartons of spaghetti at the rate of N2m, totaling N18.7m.
He went further to explain that they rebagged the items into smaller units of 5kg bags, revealing that after the rebagging they got 1,800 5kg of rice, 935 5kg of beans, and 2,228 5kg of gari, while the spaghetti was binded into three pieces, where they got 1,156 blinded spaghetti.
Al-Amin Bmitosahi also informed members of the distribution committee that the repackaging of the items, which included purchasing and sealing the bags as well as other logistics of transportation, loading, and offloading of the items, cost about a million, announcing that each of the three zones of the ward will be given N50,000 each for transportation of the items to the various distribution units.
He charged the distribution committee to be fair and ensure that only those who actually needed the items benefited from them, expressing that the items would not go to all the targeted beneficiaries but that the various distribution committees should take note of those who didn't get them so that they would be captured in the next phase of palliative distribution as they were expecting more items from the government.
Mika'il Bmitosahi also disclosed that members of the stakeholders forum will go round to monitor the distribution and warned members of the committee against shortchanging the beneficiaries, saying anyone caught in the act will be made to face the law.
In their separate remarks, Dr. Abubakar Mohammed and former Director General of the Child Rights Agency, Barr. Maryam Kolo, who were also members of the stakeholders forum of Limawa B, said they were determined to be the best ward in the palliative distribution in the state and, as such, will follow the distribution process to the end.
They disclosed that each family will get one of the four items, but that an extremely vulnerable family that needs the palliative most will be given preferential treatment by getting all four items.
The stakeholders equally called on the people of the ward to maintain decorum during the distribution, assuring that all those who needed the palliative would get it.