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The Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency has resolved henceforth to enforce the use of life jackets by canoe drivers and passengers in riverine areas in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Alhaji Yusif Sani, who disclosed while speaking with newsmen in Dutse on Wednesday, said this followed incidents of boat mishap in the state.
Sani recalled that two canoes carrying 31 girls, aged between 12 and 20, capsised on February 11 on River Hadejia at Darai in Jahun Local Government Area of the state.
Eight of the girls died, while another eight were rescued alive, with 15 still missing.
Sani said the state government had acquired a number of the life jackets for distribution to 24 riverine communities identified by the agency.
He said: “We have procured a number of life jackets to be given to 24 crossing points we identified in the state.
“Seven life jackets would be given to each community to be used by canoe driver and passengers.”
Sani added that the agency had also limited the number of passengers to be carried per canoe to seven.
He said: “Henceforth, no canoe is allowed to carry more than seven passengers and all of them, including the driver, must put on the life jackets for their own safety.”
According to him, all the life jackets have reflective stickers and whistles on them.
The executive secretary noted that the reflective sticker was to enable rescue teams to identify a person in case of mishap in the night.
Sani explained that the whistle was to be blown by victim to draw attention of rescue team to his or her direction.
The measure, Sani said, was part of proactive measures taken by the agency to save lives during mishaps and reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to protect lives and property.