A survivor of the Ikorodu Boat Mishap which occurred on Wednesday night, in Lagos, told Channels Television that overload and high speed caused the accident.
According to the female survivor, Abimbola Bunmi, the driver of the ill-fated Bell Marine boat was on high speed despite the turbulent waves on the waters.
Three pregnant women and a female child, who was yet unfound, were also involved in the accident which took off from the Ebutte Jetty in Lagos at 5:34PM. While narrating the incident, Bunmi hinted that the boat was damaged and that the driver had tried to “manage it” until the boat capsized.
Although representatives of the government had said that the Lagos Water Authority had responded promptly to the distress call, an eyewitness, Pedro Elakhale, a close relative to one of the occupants of the boat, told Channels Television that local fishermen and not the water authorities rescued the victims.
Despite the allegations of late rescue operations by survivors, the managing director of the Lagos state Waterways Authority, Mr Yinka Marinho insisted that the agency had responded to the distress call on time.
About 8 people died on Wednesday and 12 others rescued after a boat capsized between Eko Bridge and Ikorodu waterways in Lagos State, Nigeria’s South-West region.
Local divers were said to have jumped into the water and rescued some people, while the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials along with men of the Nigerian Navy and the Marine policemen patrolled the water in a bid to recover more bodies.
According to NEMA’s PRO, Ibrahim Farinloye, the boat took off from Ebute to Majidun in Ikorodu with 20 people on board and the incident occurred at about 6 PM. 12 people were rescued alive and eight died. He also revealed that as at that time six people were missing.
He noted that the boat is operated by Bell Marine Services and the management of Bell Marine Services had announced on Thursday that all occupants on the boat had been recused.
Mr. Farinloye further stated that two people out of the twelve rescued were receiving treatment at the Ikorodu General Hospital.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa, told Channels Television that the accident may have been caused by underwater obstacles which led to the boat capsizing. He could not confirm if human error had led to the incident but disclosed that investigations were on.
He also disclosed that one person was still missing.
Mr Opeifa further assured that the government was spending time on dredging the waterways and installing buoys to show drivers the correct waterways.
Despite the allegations by survivors of the boat accident of late rescue operations, the Lagos state Waterways Authority insisted it responded to the distress call on time.
The managing director of the agency, Mr Yinka Marinho said that the state government usually carried out constant safety awareness campaigns and tests for operators as well as their boats.