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A survivor of the boat accident on Badagry waterways in Lagos State, said greed by the boat operators led to the drowning of 16 passengers during the journey.
According to the survivor, Moruf Ajibola Kelani, blamed the incident on greed and insistence on the boat operators to collect the fares before getting to their destination.
Sixteen passengers drowned while only the survivor was rescued during the tragedy that happened at the Badagry waterways around 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29. Both the boat driver and his assistant swam into safety.
Kelani who described himself as self employed and living in Badagry on his Facebook wall, said: “Normally, we don’t pay fares until we get to our destination, but that day, the boatman insisted on collecting the money.
“The boatman thought that it would be difficult to collect N1,500 from passengers when they arrive Badagry instead of the normal N1200, so he started collecting the fares at the point of departure,” he said.
“Instead of the assistant boatman to start the boat engine, he was supervising the boatman that was collecting fares until they reached the high sea without starting the engine.
“We realised that the high current was pushing the boat near the parked barge around Kirikiri, we shouted at him to start the engine.
“Alas! All efforts made by him to start the engine was in vain, the strong current pushed the boat under the parked barge at Kirikiri.
“At this critical time, two small boats were sailing along, so the passengers shouted for help and they came to rescue us.
“Unfortunately, only three passengers were able to jump into the small boats before our boat capsized,” he said.
“LASWA did not rescue anybody because they came two hours after the boat had capsized to remove dead bodies of the passengers inside the waterways.
“When the boat capsized, the boatman and his assistant swam out of the waters because they were experts.
“Then, out of the 17 passengers that went down after the boat accident, God saved me.
“The rest 16 passengers, including my friend and business partner, Benjamin Ojerinola, drowned inside the deep sea due to greed of the boatman,” the survivor said.
On how he survived the tragedy, Kelani said only God saved his life.
According to him: “When the boat capsized, I found myself deep down inside the waterways, struggling to survive.
“As I was coming up from the sea struggling to survive, trying to reach the top, my hand touched the boat because the boat sank with us.
“Then, suddenly, God gave me an instinct to hold on to the boat that it will float because it was made of fiber.
“I held onto it with one of my fingers till we reached the top. I can’t see anything and I can’t swim.
“After the boat had floated out, I hung my leg around the boat and my head on somewhere on the boat for about 30 minutes with hope that before the boat got to Liverpool jetty, a saviour would come.
“My head was outside and I was able to breath as the high current from the sea was carrying the boat from one place to other,” he said.