Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has condoled with families of victims of the boat that mishap at the Buruku crossing point of River Katsina-Ala on Wednesday night.
Eyewitnesses said 20 persons died in the boat, which left Logo at 8 p.m and capsized on the Buruku side of the river.
The Chairman of Ugonduzua branch of Benue Motorcycle Association Mr Felix Ikyaajime said the association lost 17 members.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Anthony Ijohor (SAN), spoke when he visited the scene of the incident.
He was accompanied by the Chairmen of Buruku and Logo local government areas, some commissioners and special advisers.
Ortom described the boat mishap as unfortunate and painful, adding that a similar incident, in which 17 persons died, occurred at the same point five years ago.
The governor urged the Federal Government to build a bridge across the Buruku axis of River Katsina-Ala to prevent the loss of more lives.
Ijohor said: “Governor Ortom and his deputy, Benson Abounu, are deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident. The Government of Benue State will ensure that the victims are given necessary support.
“Our appeal is that the Federal Government should build a bridge here at the Buruku crossing point of River Katsina-Ala to end frequent loss of lives.”
He directed that recovered bodies of the victims should be deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital at Buruku while government would assist in the burial.
Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Affairs and Civil Society, Rev. Jacob Aernyi, sympathised with the families of victims of the boat mishap.
Aernyi told reporters that he got details of the incident yesterday in his office in Makurdi through the Secretary of Buruku River Workers’ Union, Mr Samuel Nakombo.
He described the incident as very unfortunate and called for more proactive measures by the Federal Government.
The special adviser said a ship conveying more than 20 passengers and carrying some motorcycles was on sail on Wednesday evening when the ugly incident occurred.
He said over 20 passengers were still missing while about 17 motorcycles were yet to be recovered.
Mue Ter Ichongu, Chief Terngu Iorhuna, from Logo, who spoke on behalf of the affected communities, thanked Ortom for his prompt response.
He said the residents were consoled by his visit.