Boat accident: Victims’ families blame helmsman


Deji Lambo

The families of some of the victims of Saturday’s boat accident in Egbin, near Ijede, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State have blamed the boat’s helmsman for the disaster.

PUNCH Metro had reported that 26 passengers were in the boat before it capsized and that three persons were rescued and two corpses recovered, while 22 were missing.

The elder brother of a deceased victim, Olalekan, Hammed Ajayi, while blaming the helmsman for conveying more passengers than the boat’s capacity, urged the regulatory agencies to investigate the accident to ascertain the actual cause.

Ajayi said, “I was on my way to a social function when my wife called me that the family members had not heard from my brother. I called his wife, who confirmed to me through his son, Toheeb. I was able to call one of his boys, Fatai, at his place of work in Ajah.

“Fatai said no one filled the passenger manifest at the jetty where the boat took off from and how we got to know that he was involved in the accident was that the rescue workers removed the SIM card from his phone and contacted us after his remains had been recovered.

“I blame the helmsman for conveying them at that time of the day and for not giving them any life jacket before the journey.”

Another relative of one of the victims, Kehinde Shotayo, appealed to the government to provide adequate support to the bereaved families.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency said on Monday that eight corpses hadso far been recovered in the ongoing search and rescue operation for the victims.

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The Chief Executive Officer, LASEMA, Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said passengers and boat helmsmen should stop night journeys and ensure compliance with rules and regulations of the bodies in charge of water transportation in the state.

Oke-Osanyintolu stated, “On the unfortunate boat accident that occurred in Egbin, Ijede Local Council Development Area, Ikorodu, around 9.30pm on Saturday, June 29, 2019, the boat was said to be on its way to Egbin, Ijede (Ikorodu) from Badore, Ajah, with about 21 passengers onboard when it suddenly developed a mechanical fault and threw all the passengers on board into the water. Three persons were rescued immediately, while eight lifeless bodies, made up of seven males and one female, have been recovered.’’

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