Lagos—The bodies of two passengers of a wooden boat that capsised, Wednesday night, in Igando area of Lagos, were recovered yesterday. They were identified as those of one Fatima, a female and Mr. Idowu Lawal.
Fourteen others were reportedly rescued by local divers with the assistance of policemen attached to Igando Police Division.
Tragedy, as gathered, occurred at 8p.m., Wednesday, shortly after the boat, said to be heading for Imoshe in Ogun State, took off from Akesan.
The exact number of passengers that boarded the boat was not ascertained. But Vanguard gathered that immediately it took off, it tagged along with another wooden boat carrying two passengers, in order to withstand the tide. But it apparently could not.
Some of the panic-stricken passengers were said to have jumped out of the boat before it capsised.
Those that could swim escaped to the shore, while others were said to have been rescued by local fishermen. It was also gathered that none of the passengers was wearing life jacket.
When Vanguard arrived the scene yesterday, policemen from Igando Division were sighted combing the river for any victim. Police sources hinted that the case was never reported by the canoe operators.
Police sources said: “They deliberately refused to report the case to the Police because they wanted to hide the incident from us. As we speak, families of the deceased have not come to the station to report either.”
Vanguard gathered from a relative of one of the deceased, who simply gave her name as Omolara, that she was yet to see her brother’s corpse.
According to her, she got a call from one of the boat operators, informing her about the incident but was sternly warned never to involve the Police.
One of the deceased, Lawal, was said to have been rushing home to his pregnant wife when the tragedy occurred.
According to Omolara, “Lawal was a mechanic. He had three children. His pregnant wife called him on the phone to rush home that she was in labour. I believe he decided to take this route so as to get home early. Ordinarily, he had a phobia for river.
“The challenge we are confronted with is how to get his recovered bodies. I cannot find the person that called me on phone. He has absconded with the body out of fear of being arrested by the Police.”
The second deceased, Fatima, a petty trader, was said to have gone to buy jewelries which she intended to sell before Salah celebration tomorrow.
Another relative was seen wailing as he claimed he was yet to see one Michael.
Police sources hinted that two boat operators have been arrested with a view to helping with information on how to get the recovered bodies and detailed account of what happened.