Tragedy struck in Gusau, the capital city of Zamfara State, as seven children lost their lives in a boat mishap while returning from their search for water. The children had gone in search of water as a shortage had hit Zamfara State, and water vendors were selling the essential commodity at N100 per jerrican. The bereaved parents claimed that the children died when they were returning from where they went to get water for domestic purposes.
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The incident occurred last Sunday in Tulukawa community in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Eyewitnesses said that seven dead bodies were recovered, while others disagreed that the number of those who lost their lives in the incident was more than seven.
Muhammadu Yusuf, a parent who lost two of his children, a daughter identified as Zainab, 17 years old, whose dowry had been paid and her wedding fixed, and a son Aliyu, 12 years old, said that the unfortunate incident would not have occurred if not for the water scarcity. He appealed to the State Government to address the problem of perennial shortage of water in Gusau metropolis to avert such an ugly incident.
An elder sister to Zainab and Aliyu, who was inconsolable, said that they were not happy because of the tragic incident which claimed the lives of two of her younger ones and other children in the neighborhood. She lamented that they do not have a well or borehole and called on the government to show empathy to them by providing boreholes to the affected community so that they can access water with ease.
Shawulu Hassan, one of those who rescued the victims, said that it was an unbelievable incident and called on the state government to tackle the issue of water shortage.
For some weeks now, residents of Gusau metropolis have been battling with water scarcity, and vendors of the commodity have increased the price of a gallon of water from fifty naira to seventy or one hundred naira, making it difficult for the poor to access.
This tragic incident has once again highlighted the issue of water scarcity in Zamfara State. The state government needs to take urgent steps to address the problem and provide access to safe and clean water to the people. It is unacceptable that people have to risk their lives in search of water in the 21st century.
As a 20-year-old female news writer, I feel deeply saddened by this incident and urge the government to take immediate action to prevent such tragedies from happening again. The loss of these innocent children is a tragedy that should never have happened. We must do better as a society to ensure that everyone has access to basic necessities like water.