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In the southern Nigerian state of Anambra, a boat tragedy has claimed at least 76 lives.

NewsReport that the boat capsized on Friday in the Ogbaru region of Anambra state while carrying at least 80 persons.

When their town was submerged by floodwater, the majority of the victims were women and children who were attempting to flee to safety.

Benard Achonu expressed his devastation to the BBC, saying, “My life has come apart.”

The 60-year-old man lost his wife and his three children, who ranged in age from two to six. He claimed that they were among those who fled the area’s flooding.

Another former resident, Precious Umeh, told BBC Pidgin that the situation was extremely bad. “Some people whose family members have died in the boat accident are wondering how to bury the bodies because there is no dry land in their area.”

President Muhammadu Buhari offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the “tragic” accident.

He also ordered a review of safety measures across the country’s water transport system and said emergency services must do everything to account for those missing.

Mr. Buhari called on government agencies “to check the safety protocols on these transport ferries to make sure such incidents are avoided in the future”.

Local media reports say those aboard the boat were heading to the Nkwo market in Ogbakuba before it capsized. Some officials said the boat had suffered an engine failure and hit a bridge before capsizing.

Thickman Tanimu, the south-east coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, told the AFP news agency: “The water level is very high and too risky for a smooth search and rescue operation”.

Anambra governor Charles Soludo added that the accident had been a shock for both residents and the state’s government, offering his sympathies to the victim’s families.

Boat accidents are relatively common in Nigeria, although most are blamed on overloading or poor safety measures.

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