An overboard boat with passengers not wearing life jackets at the marine area of Badagry, Lagos. File Photo: NAN

Nineteen children were reportedly drowned in the River Niger when a boat conveying them capsized on Saturday in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State.

It was gathered that they were going to attend a traditional wedding ceremony in a community in Niger State.

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A source said the boat, conveying about 22 people, mostly children, capsized while crossing the river.

The source said 19 children drowned and died; while two others were rescued.

“As at Saturday evening, four corpses have been recovered from the river. Efforts resumed Sunday morning to ensure that others also are found.

“Both men of the Nigeria Police and the State Fire Service were there yesterday (Saturday) in the rescue mission. Unfortunately, only two of them survived,” the source said.

Alhaji Sulyman Aliyu, the Secretary of the Lafiagi Traditional Council, also confirmed the incident.

Aliyu said that the number of the victims could not be ascertained yet, noting that there was a conflict in the number.

“Definitely they are up to 12. The figure is between 12 and that 19 that you said”, he told Daily Trust.

The secretary also confirmed that four corpses were recovered on Saturday and that efforts to remove others would continue yesterday.

The Public Relations Officer of the Kwara Police Command, DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, also confirmed the incident.

He said officers of the command and other security agencies had joined the local government council to recover the corpses.

He, however, said that the number of the passengers and the victims could not yet be ascertained as the recovery exercise was still ongoing.