A resident of Gidan Magana community, Ibrahim Muhammad Sani who lost 5 of his children in a boat mishap on the Shagari Dam in Shagari Local Government Area of Sokoto State said he has learnt to finally accept fate.
Sani Ibrahim said that even though one of his children, seven-year-old Muzeeba, survived the mishap which claimed 29 lives while only two persons survived.
He described the incident as one tragedy too many people.
“I was at home when a neighbour rushed down to me shouting that a boat mishap had just occurred and all the passengers were drowned in the process,” he said.
“Although I am not aware of when they left the house, I was aware that they often go to the next village as usual. But this time, I didn’t know when they left.
“I couldn’t join the rescue team 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 all of them were brought back to the village, I saw the corpses of my children lying down lifeless 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 their way.”
Another person, Mallam Magaji Muhammad, who also lost four of his children in the accident, described the day as the worst day of his life.
According to him, he was sleeping at home when he was woken up by some people who came and informed him about the tragic accident.
Muhammad confirmed that it was one of the usual trips to the next village by boat, but was not informed on the said day of the incident.
“That has been a normal trip 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 the house.
“When we all rushed there, the boat had already capsized 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,”
“One of the local divers who helped in the rescue operation immediately after the accident said the incident happened in a deep area of the water 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 on time.
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