Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with President John Magufuli and the people of Tanzania over the tragic ferry disaster in the south of Lake Victoria, which has so far claimed 131 lives.
President Buhari assured his Tanzanian counterpart and the people of the country of the sympathy of all Nigerians as they mourn those who died on the MV Nyerere, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said in a statement.
The Nigerian leader said the prayers and thoughts of all Nigerians are with the families and friends of the bereaved even as rescue efforts by emergency services continue.
He also prayed that God will comfort all those who lost relatives and friends in the accident and grant eternal rest to the departed souls.
The MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers – double the ferry’s capacity – when it capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday, according to reports on state media.
On Friday, the Tanzanian President ordered the arrest of the management of the ferry.
In a speech broadcast on TBC One public television, Magufuli said, “It appears clear that the ferry was overloaded,” adding that “negligence has cost us so many lives… children, mothers, students, old people”.
“I ordered the arrest of all those involved in the management of the ferry. The arrests have already begun,” he added.
The president declared four days of national mourning while saying at least 131 people had died, updating an earlier death toll of 126.
Magufuli also announced the government would cover the funeral expenses of the victims.