At least 29 people are feared dead after a boat carrying Nigerian students capsized in the country’s south-east, prompting authorities to deploy the coastguard to rescue the passengers.
“Twenty-nine bodies have been recovered so far from the waters, but no survivors have been found,” said Isa Anzaku, spokesman for the Delta state government.
“We have mobilised the coastguard to rescue these remaining passengers,” Anzaku said. Nigerian authorities have suspended rescue operations.
The boat capsized in the River Niger near Ogwashi-Uku, a town about 130km (80 miles) south of the capital, Abuja.
The director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dakuku Peterside, said preliminary findings suggest the boat was overloaded.
The group was returning to Nigeria from a sightseeing trip at the coast of neighbouring Ghana, according to Nigeria’s Premium Times.
There was no immediate comment from Delta state officials.
The accidents are not uncommon for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and top oil producer. Crude production last year fell to 2.2m barrels a day because of clashes between security forces and militant groups demanding more money for their communities.