The Marina Resort management has been held responsible by the Nigerian Medical Students Association, for a boat accident that happened on Saturday, which resulted in the rescue of 11 of their members and the disappearance of three others. The three are feared to have died.
For the yearly NIMSA Health Week, the students had gathered in Calabar, Cross River State and as part of the events, they decided to visit the Marina resort, where some of them went on a boat ride.
Speaking to reporters at the resort facility, where the famous Slave History Museum is located, the association’s national president, Ejim Clement Egba, said that the awful, avoidable, and very traumatic accident caused so much pain to the medical students’ community across the country owning to the management’s “negligence, incompetence, and lackadaisical attitude.”
He continued by saying that after the boat’s motor failed, water began to rush into it and that the boat began to sink at this point and eventually overturned.
Egba also listed some things that led to the accident including a leaky boat, bad condition and reliability of the vests, improperly maintained engines causing the engine to go off during the journey. He also noted that the fuel ran out before they returned to land, there was little or no supervision from the resort’s management and poor regulation and monitoring.
The national president asserts that the resort’s management was adequately notified, and that they should have checked and prepped their boats at that time, but they did not.
The students lamented that the management had neglected their duties to the patrons and should have been shut down.
Victor Nsa and Effiong Ekarika, two members of the State House of Assembly who both represent Calabar South 1 and 2, also accused the resort’s management of incompetence.
Meanwhile, in his statement late Saturday night, Governor Bassey Otu criticised the resort’s safety procedures and promised that anyone found culpable of jeopardising safety will face harsh repercussions.
Otu said as a governor and a parent, he was saddened by the news of the boat cruise tragedy at the popular tourist and recreation centre.
The Governor further assured that the state government will be looking into the incident, and anyone found guilty of jeopardising safety procedures will face the consequences of the law, he said, especially in light of the possibility that the boat was jam-packed and some of the passengers were not wearing life jackets.
Twelve hours after the incident occurred, the three missing students were still missing at the time this report was being written.