Twenty fisherman are said to have drowned after a boat transporting them on a stretch of the Benue River collapsed.
Fishermen from the state’s Ibi and Wukari local government divisions were involved in the incident on Monday.
The boat mishap occurred between the Anyeci area of Taraba State’s Wukari local government area and the Chinkai axis of Benue State, according to Taraba State Water Transportation Chairman Alhaji Jidda Suleiman.
According to him, “I was informed that the fishermen converged and boarded the boat to Kwara state in search for greener pasture, and along the way, they had an accident and over twenty people have died.
“Twelve people out of the dead bodies are from Ibi while, some are from Gareji, in Gindin Doruwa, Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State.
“It has been the tradition of our fishermen in Taraba State that once it is close to December, some will travel to Cameroon, some to Chad and other places to fish till August of the following year.
“It’s unfortunate that the usual tradition turned to be sorrowful this time.”
He further appealed to both state and federal governments to provide life jackets for jetties to avert future occurrences.
Taraba state governor, Dr. Agbu Kefas, also expressed sadness over the tragic accident.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Digital Communications, Emmanuel Bello, bemoaned the recurrent boat mishaps and assured that his government is already working on measures to stop the waterways tragedies.
He said, “Today’s boat incident is even more unfortunate since it is coming on the heels of a similar one in Karim Lamido that threw the state into mourning.
“It is heartbroken, however, I wish to appeal that the government is already on top of the situation as various investigations are underway to unravel the remote causes of boat mishaps in the state.
“I would soon personally tour the affected areas to meet with local stakeholders in the waterways transport sectors to ensure that the water transport system is safe for passengers.
“Measures are in place to face out old boats and introduce the compulsory use of life jackets among other life-saving measures.”