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9 Dead, Four Missing in P/Harcourt Boat Mishap

Posted by By Chuks Okocha on 2005/08/03 | Views: 224 |

9 Dead, Four Missing in P/Harcourt Boat Mishap

It was double tragedy in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday, when a ferryboat travelling to Bonny Island for a funeral split ito two killing nine persons, while four are believed to be missing.

It was double tragedy in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday, when a ferryboat travelling to Bonny Island for a funeral split ito two killing nine persons, while four are believed to be missing.

Also, no fewer than 33 lives is said to have been lost in the past few months owing to the disaster that had overtaken some parts of Cross River State, with over 18 houses also swept away by landslide that occured recently in Ikot Uduak community in Calabar municipality of the state.

However, the Maritime Police have been deployed to the creek to rescue some missing persons.

THISDAY gathered that the boat mishap is coming days after another mishap in Ondo State, where over three hundred people died when their boat hit a sharp object in the high sea.

THISDAY checks reveal that the remains of the nine victims, comprising of seven women and two men that was recovered from the scene of the accident have so far been deposited at the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH) Port Harcourt.

It was gathered at the Rivers State Ministry of Transport jetty at Marine Base where the remains of the boat mishap were first deposited before been taken to the BMH morgue, disclosed to Eyewitness account reveal that the victims were travelling to Bonny Island for a funeral, when the boat they were travelling in probably ran into an unknown object that split it into two yesterday afternoon.

Though the exact cause of the accident could not be ascertained at press time, our reporter was informed that 20 passengers had boarded the boat at Tourist Beach, Port Harcourt for onwards journey to Bonny.

The boat drivers were alleged to have decided to proceed to Marine Base to pick up more passengers, when it probably capsized and split into two killing nine persons.

According to a source, who pleaded anonymity at the Rivers State Ministry of Transport, Marine Base, Port Harcourt said, "so far only seven passengers have been recovered alive, while 4 are still missing." The source explained that some of the passengers who survived the mishap had alleged that the ferryboat driver was traveling at a lightening speed before the accident occurred.

When the news of the accident made the rounds in Port Harcourt, scores of women who were already at Tourist Beach waiting to board boats to Bonny, quickly rushed to Marine Base jetty to ascertain the accident and identify the corpse of those retrieved. The anguished women, who were crying were, however, prevented from entering the premises as it took the intervention of soldiers, who have been stationed at the Marine Base waterfront since the crisis that erupted in Rivers State, last year to prevent an imminent stampede at the transport ministry jetty. Because of the teeming crowd which was mainly made up of women, the soldiers decided that only men should be allowed to enter the Transport Ministry jetty to identify the remains of those recovered from the accident.

As the victims were identified and their remains were being taken to the BMH morgue, scores of women who had besieged the jetty began to cry and followed the ambulances as it taxied to the hospital. The news of the accident had caused heavy traffic jam along the Marine Base axis yesterday.

But the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Samuel Adetuyi who confirmed the accident, explained to THISDAY that he had already deployed Marine Police to the area where the accident occurred to ascertain the likely cause of the accident. He also said the police would be assisting in the recovery process as well.

THISDAY had early met the officer in charge of the Marine section of police at the Transport jetty.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aquah, who confirmed the incident, said at least 33 lives were lost in disasters that affected seven local government areas of the state, while property worth several millions of naira was destroyed.

Similarly, residents of Ikot Uduak community of Calabar Municipal Council are now sleeping with one eye open as erosion threaten their community with fierce, while two children of primary school age have been reported dead as a result of the landslide.

THISDAY gathered that the torrential rains that has fallen in the last couple of weeks in Calabar have worsen the matter for residents of the area as their houses suffer more damage. It is also observed that the Nigeria Ports Authourity (NPA) staff quarters, which appeared safely located away from ravaging ecological problem is now seriously threatened as the ravine has expanded to its fringes.

Aquah, who was receiving relief materials from the National Emergency Manage-ment Agency (NEMA), commended the agency for responding rapidly to the plight of the victims in the State.

While promising to distribute the materials to the affected victims judiciously, he called on other bodies to come to the assistance of the State government in an effort to alleviate the problems of the victims.

Presenting the materials on behalf of the Director General of NEMA, the Chief Relief Officer, Mr. Mike Adeyanju said the relief materials were approved by the Federal Government after a thorough assessment of the disaster situation in the State.

Adeyanju said based on the sport assessment of the team and their recommendation, it because obvious that the affected victims need succour.

He however, warned that on no account should the relief materials be diverted to those who were not affected by the various disasters, as the Agency would not tolerate such diversion or misplacement of priority in the distribution of the material.

Responding, the representative of the State governor and State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Patrick Odock, assured that government will ensure that the materials get to the affected victims as mandated by the agency.

He appealed to the agency for more relief assistance especially to the five villages in Yala local government of the State following a communal clash between the Ukelle people and their Izzi neighbours of Ebonyi State.

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Comments (9)

Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...