At least one person is still missing more than 24 hours after a boat accident that claimed several lives, especially women and children on Sunday in Ilashe, Badagry, a riverine suburb of Lagos State.

It was reported that no fewer than 12 persons mostly minors, who were travelling in a wooden boat lost their lives when the boat capsized as a result of over-loading.

Meanwhile, Manager, Lagos Area Office of the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA, Federal Government’s apex regulator for inland waterways transportation, Muazu Sambo, says at least one person is still unaccounted for out of the 16 passengers that boarded the boat on their way to church, while five persons survived.

“Preliminary investigations by the Lagos Area Office revealed that16 passengers, including young and old boarded the private boat without life jackets from the Ilashe community Jetty to cross to the other side of the Badagry Creek on their way to church. As at the time of this press release, there were five survivors, nine causalities and one person unaccounted for”, Sambo said in a statement at about 10 pm on Monday.

According to the statement, the incident occurred at around 11.30am on Sunday, prompted the authority to despatch a high-powered delegation to commiserate with the Oba of Ilashe and the families of the affected persons in addition to the engaging its search and rescue team.

“Management and staff of the NIWA extend their condolences to the Onilase of Ilashe, Badagry and the good people of Ilashe community, particularly the families of those who lost their loved ones in the boat mishap of Sunday, August 20, 2017. We pray the Almighty God to give them the strength to bear the painful losses”, he also said.

He however warned renewed the authority’s calls on all water transportation users on the critical importance of wearing life jackets while on board all boats no matter how short the distance, irrespective of whether the person can swim or not, insisting that life jackets are mandatory on board any boat at all times.

Muazu faulted earlier reports by the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority LASWA, which said a total of 12 persons died in the mishap and therefore enjoined members of the public to ignore such reports.

Managing Director of LASWA, had said in a statement that the unfortunate incident led to the death of 12 persons while four persons were receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

“Four people are receiving treatment in the hospital. The LASWA rescue team has been on ground and the search is still ongoing,” Kamson had said.