Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Timipre Sylva, former Governor of Bayelsa State and immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has expressed shock and grief over last Thursday’s boat mishap in Bayelsa.
Sylva’s position was contained in a statement by Mr Julius Bokoru, his Special Assistant On Media and Public Affairs.
The boat was en route Okpoama, Brass, from Swali in Yenagoa when it capsized at Okoroma in Nembe Local Government Area on Thursday afternoon.
It was gathered that the casualty figures from the boat which carried over 100 passengers had yet to be ascertained as there was no manifest of persons on board.
Asinim Butswat, a Superintendent of Police and spokesman for the Police Command in Bayelsa State, said in a telephone chat on Sunday that the death toll from the accident currently stands at five, while search and rescue continue.
Sylva, who commiserated with families who lost relatives, bemoaned the weak regulation of marine transport sector in Bayelsa.
“Words are not enough to console the families of the victims. This tragedy chose an inauspicious time to come and while it is difficult, we must let the families know that we love them and we have them in our prayers,” Sylva said.
While lamenting a recent trend of frequent marine accidents across the state, Sylva called for better regulation of the state’s waterways especially maritime transportation.
He called on relevant authorities saddled with regulatory duties in inland waterways transportation to sit up to forestall further incidents.
Sylva commended Bayelsa people for bonding together in a common march of humanity as everyday people took fishing boats and volunteered for the ongoing search and rescue efforts.
He noted that the community driven rescue efforts by volunteers saved lives in the boat accident