Chairman, Transition Implementation Committee, Patigi Local Government of Kwara State, Mohammed Ibrahim Liman, has sent a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to come to the rescue of his people, who lost 107 people in a recent boat accident, by ensuring the construction of the abandoned Niger bridge linking Kwara and Niger states in the area.
In an exclusive interview with VERIFIED NIGERIA on Thursday, Mohammed, said the construction of the bridge would go a long way to save lives lost in water travels on the River Niger between the two states.
Recall that 107 passengers perished on Monday, June 12, Democracy Day in the local government, when a boat loaded with over 250 passengers capsized at about 3 a.m. on the River Niger while returning from a marriage ceremony.
Communities affected by the boat mishap included Kpada, Ebu and Dzakan, all in Patigi local government, while the others came from Kogi state, though 144 people survived the accident.
Reports said water leaked into the boat through a crack and eventually broke into two parts a few minutes after takeoff.
The TIC chairman said normalcy has returned to the affected communities because, “like in the case of an auto crash, people still have to travel by road after the crash, so the people have no alternative but to travel by water.”
He emphasized the urgent need to construct the Niger Bridge, on which a huge amount of funds had been sunk but no action taken over the years despite the movement of equipment to the site last year.
He disclosed that the project was awarded during the tenure of Ahman Bahago Patigi of the House of Representatives from Kwara North Senatorial District.
Mohammed blamed the persistent water travels of the people on their inability to access roads, particularly during the rainy season when they become impassable.
He lamented that there are no good road networks during the rainy season between Gboti, Ebu and Dzakan, hence, the only alternative for the people remains traveling by boat on the River Niger for their socioeconomic activities.
The TIC chairman said that as an interim measure, security has been put in place to enforce safety measures for passengers, while boat drivers now operate only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily under strict monitoring.