By CHRIS EKEKE, Abuja
Following the incessant boat mishaps on River Niger, the Senate yesterday asked the federal government to immediately conduct a survey into the stretch of the river in the area with a view to putting safety navigational aid in place. Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South) had moved a motion titled,
“Incessant boat mishap and loss of life in the Yauri end of River Niger; urgent need for federal government’s intervention”, and specifically directed the Ministry of Transportation through the National Inland Waterways Authority to urgently step into action on the matter.
Consequently, the senate urged the federal government to assist the communities in blasting the big stones and cutting the big trees in the river that hinders safe navigation around the area as well as give them relief materials in order to cushion the effect of the disaster. Similarly, it enjoined the government to assist the communities with
modern 50-seater boats so as to alleviate their transportation needs. In his lead debate on the motion, Senator Na’Allah said 26 lives were lost while some persons are still missing and unaccounted for in the
River Niger after the recent boat mishap in Ngaski local government in Kebbi South Senatorial District of Kebbi State.
According to him, “The senate is concerned that the issue of boat mishaps has become recurring issue yearly with loss of life”.
“The senate is aware that these same communities were the very communities resettled by the then Northern Regional Government in order to build the current Kainji Dam to provide electricity for the country”, he said.
Senator Na’Allah, who is the deputy Senate Leader, added that the upper legislative chamber was “disturbed that despite this development, which has become an annual unfortunate occurrence, nothing has been done to prevent future re-occurrence”.
In his contribution, Senator Mohammed Adamu Aliero (APC Kebbi Central) stressed the need for the federal government to intervene in preventing boat mishaps on the River Niger and as well resettle communities along the river, among other assistance that would make life bearable for the people.
Senator Aliero informed that the Kainji Dam was not only constructed to provide electricity, but also water for irrigation to boost farming in the area.
He, however, expressed sadness that 40 years after the communities were resettled by the then Northern Regional Government, they are yet to be rehabilitated by successive administrations.