Niger State has been devastated by grief as no fewer than 156 passengers including artisanal miners, traders and some Nigerien nationals are feared drowned in River Niger.
The boat carrying about 250 passengers sank an hour into the journey on Wednesday, according to reports.
Four corpses have been recovered while 20 persons have also been rescued.
An official said the passengers were heading to a market in Malele in Borgu council area of the state when the tragedy occurred.
“The boat capacity was not up to the 180 passengers it carried,” National Inland Waterways Authority Manager, Yusuf Birma, said.
“As we speak, only 20 people have been rescued alive, four dead confirmed while the remaining 156 people are still missing and they are believed to be underwater.”
Commenting on the accident, the Sarkin Samari of Warra, Alhaji Adamu Umar Warra, said almost every household in the village has its member on the ill-fated boat, noting that the boat was carrying over 150 people.
Warra said the boat capsized in the deepest part of River Niger.
“so far only four dead bodies were recovered while 18 others that were rescued had been rushed to the hospital for medical attention,” he said.
An official of the Red Cross in Kebbi, Mr Ibrahim Ngaski, said he was told that the boat was carrying about 250 passengers.
“Absence of rescue equipment is what is one of the major impediment to the rescue operation.
“The information at hand said the boat was carrying about 250 people. Though, we are waiting to hear from our men who had since joined the rescue team.” Ngaski said.