Bauchi — One of the 12 survivors in the recent canoe mishap which 38 people drowned in Kirfi River , Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, Musa Isa, said he watched his brother crying helplesly as he drowned in the river.
The survivor stated this in Kirfi while answering questions from newsmen after he collected his share of N10 million donated to them by Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir.
Musa said his younger brother Ibrahim was 17 years old and the youngest of the passengers.
He said they were sent by their father to go to the other side of the river to mind his cattle where the grass was abundant, and the only route to get there was usually by using a canoe.
"When we got to Kuna water side that morning, there were some passengers already inside the boat.
"I paid N130 fare for me and my brother and we joined them and I noticed that the operators of the boat kept collecting money from more passengers. I warned them that the number of passengers would be too much for the boat to carry but they didn't listen.
"Some passengers were also begging to be allowed to enter the boat. I warned them again but they didn't listen," Musa said as he broke down.
Musa said he could recall that after being stuck for some minutes, an unidentified man jumped inside the water.
"Passengers moved to one side and water started entering the boat and it started sinking as people fall inside the river. I was sitting at the rear while my brother was in the front of the boat. Both of us could swim but unfortunately Ibrahim's shirt covered his face and could not recover in time. I swam to where he was and gave him my hand but he sank deep inside the water and I couldn't see him again.
"I heard his voice he was crying for me to help him but I was helpless," he added sobbing.
The father, Alhaji Isa, said that his son could have been saved if the operators had regulated the number of passengers.
"We recovered Ibrahim's dead body at Gaka, near Beni village not too far from Guyaba."
North East Trust reports that the Committee appointed by the governor shared the money to the 42 families of the people who were drowned in mishap.
The Caretaker Commitee Chairman of the local government, Alhaji Bappa Abdu, said families of 14 people, who were confirmed dead, were given N250,000 each.
He said N100,000 was given to 18 of the victims who were rescued, while families of the remaining 10 missing persons were each given N100,000.