The Senate has asked the Federal Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing to urgently construct the Lafiagi road that links Kwara and Niger states.
It also mandated the National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA) to enforce the use of life jackets by passengers travelling across rivers and oceans in Nigeria.
These resolutions were sequel to a deliberation on a motion on the December 1 boat mishap in Kwara State which was sponsored by Mohammed Lafiagi (PDP, Kwara North).
At least, 19 children reportedly drowned in the boat accident in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara. The boat, conveying about 22 people mostly children, capsized while crossing the River Niger.
The victims were attending a traditional wedding ceremony in a community in Niger State, Naija News recalls.
Leading the motion, Mr Lafiagi stated that the use of canoes and boats is the only available means of transportation for the border towns of Lafiagi in Kwara and their neighbours in Niger State.
This, he said, is as a result of the abandonment of the 46km road project that should link Kwara and Niger states and mitigate the incessant occurrence of boat mishaps in the riverine community.
“Such ugly incident occurs intermittently as a result of lack of access road in the riverine community. If the only road that links Lafiagi to its neighbours in Niger State had been constructed by the government, such incidents would have been eliminated or reduced considerably.
“If the 46km road is constructed or a bridge is built across the River Niger, businesses and trade activities will be enhanced with the reduction of the attendant risk to the lives of our people,” the lawmaker said.
He warned that unless something is done urgently by way of government intervention to arrest the dangerous trend, the people of Kwara and Niger states would continue to sit on a time bomb.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said nothing stops a state that cares from fixing the roads and demand reimbursement from the federal government.
“We always have this distinction between federal and state roads, which is bad. While we ask the federal government to fix roads, states concerned should try to fix their roads.
“Another issue is that we have this attitude of focusing on developing just the capitals of the states. It is necessary that those who live outside these cities, should be shown concern too,” he said.
The Senate also mandated the Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing to return to funding the Bagana-Toto bridge in Nasarawa State.
The lawmakers observed a minute silence in honour of the departed children and resolved to send a delegation from the Senate to condole with the people and government of Kwara State.