Ibrahim Muhammadu Sani, a resident of Sokoto, who lost five of his children when a boat capsised on the Shagari Dam in Gidan Magana, a serene community in the Shagari Local Government Area of Sokoto State says he has accepted his fate.
The boat had penultimate Tuesday capsised, claiming the lives of 29 passengers, while two persons survived. One of them was a seven-year-old girl, Muzeeba.
According to Tribune, Sani in an emotion-laden voice described the incident as one tragedy too many.
“I was relaxing behind the house here when someone rushed to me shouting that a boat accident had just occurred and all the passengers were drowned in the process,” he said.
“Although I didn’t know when they left, I was aware that they often go to the next village as usual. I left them at home. I didn’t know when they left.
“In actual fact, I couldn’t join them in the river as I was just sitting down close by, watching the rescue mission. All the children in our compound were involved in the accident.
“When they brought all of them and I saw the corpses of my children lying down on the ground, you can only imagine the situation. The driver of the boat, according to findings tried all his possible best, looking for assistance but all efforts to avoid the accident were not successful.
“I lost Mariam, Habiba, Umar, Atiku and Farida to the unfortunate incident. They all wanted to go and fetch firewood from the other village (Falke) but all met their untimely death on the way.”
Mallam Magaji Muhammad, who also lost four of his children in the accident, described the day as the worst day of his life.
He said he was sleeping at home when he was woken up by somebody who had come to tell him about the accident.
Muhammad said he was aware of the usual trip to the next village by boat, but was not informed on the said day.
“I know they normally go to the next village to buy firewood and sell it here in our village. But on that day, I was sleeping at home when they left.
“When we all rushed there, the boat had already capsised and all the passengers on board (without any life jackets) got drowned, except one little girl who was rescued. Even as I am talking to you, the boy that operated the boat has not been seen.
“Our belief is that when he saw the extent of the accident, he ran away despite having two siblings among the victims. The oldest one among my children lost to the accident was about 18 years old, while the youngest one was about 8 years old. Their names are Awawu, Aisha, Aminat and Khadija,” he said.
One of the local divers who helped in the rescue operation immediately after the accident said the incident happened in a deep area which affected the rescue mission of the divers.
He said he was alerted by the alarm raised by locals immediately after the accident and being an experienced diver, he joined other volunteers to rescue as many of the victims as they could.