The Punch

350 die in boat accidents in 2020

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NO fewer than 350 lives were lost to boat accidents in Nigeria in 2020. The disclosure was made in Borgu, Niger State, on Saturday by the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Hydroelect­ric Power Producing Areas Developmen­t Commission, Joseph Ityav, the News Agency of Nigeria reported

He was speaking at Malale in the Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State at the inaugurati­on of the cutting of tree logs and removal of huge debris from Kainji and Shiroro lakes.

He said the project was being executed in partnershi­p with the National Inland Waterways Corporatio­n.

Ityav blamed most of the accidents on poor conditions of boats, overloadin­g, unavailabi­lity of life jackets and the prepondera­nce of tree logs on the waterways.

He said the cutting of the tree logs and removal of debris would reduce boat accidents and the hardship faced by riverine communitie­s.

In his remarks, the Managing Director, HYPPADEC, Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, said the commission would address ecological and environmen­tal issues and the loss of lives which resulted from the constructi­on of the Kainji and Shiroro dams.

Kainji Dam was constructe­d on River Niger in 1964 at a reported cost of $209m and was inaugurate­d in 1968.

Shiroro Dam was constructe­d also on the River Niger, in Kaduna State, South-west of Abuja in 1983.

Yelwa commended the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and the National Assembly for signing the Act setting up HYPPADEC, which began operations in 2020 to address the challenges of impacted communitie­s.

The Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Abdullahi Sabi, said at the ceremony that HYPPADEC’S projects would help to address challenges faced by communitie­s in the hydro power generating areas.

Sabi, who represente­d the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswan, said that the National Assembly would continue to support HYPPADEC to achieve its objectives.

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