The Commissioner Information Culture and Tourism, Hon. Dogo Shammah has informed Nigerian Tour Operators and other stakeholders that the body of the hiker who was declared missing on Saturday at Farin Ruwa Falls has been found.
The attention of the Government of Nassarawa State was drawn to the case of a hiker who had an accident at Farin Ruwa Falls on Saturday.
The President of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators Hajia Bilkisu Abdul had informed the Government that the hikers came from Abuja and one of them is missing.
The State Government swung into action as the Commissioner of Tourism left for the site of the incident with other state government officials.
Professional divers and locals were mobilised to find the missing hiker who was later found dead. The dead hiker was a member of a 60 man Hiking Group from Abuja who had gone to the falls for an Adventure Trip.
Before the arrival of the state officials at the site the Zonal Director of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Mrs. Nanna Yakubu had also deployed a liason officer who worked together with the State Government team.
Hajia Bilkisu Abdul the NATOP President along with members of Naija7wonders the search for the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project Team have been actively promoting Farin Ruwa waterfalls as a Premium Destination for Tourist.
While commiserating with the state on the sad accident, she said the association and other stakeholders have been doing a lot during the Covid19 lockdown to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria and Farin Ruwa was selected as one of the best attractions in Nigeria “Though the people involved are not members of our association we have to get involved because it is Tourism Business. It is a pity that we are having this sad incident when the promotions of domestic tourism seems to be succeeding. We implore all tour operators to adhere to safety protocols”
The Commissioner promised that the state is already involved in trying to unravel what happened with the Tourists at Farin Ruwa waterfall.
The President of NATOP Hajia Bilkisu Abdul, the Project Director of Naija7wonders and the Zonal Director of NTDC will be working together with the state to get to the root of the accident and safeguard against future occurrence. The President of NATOP thanked the State Governor and his Tourism Commissioner for the swift response and intervention.
A tour operator had informed the Project Team of Naija7Wonders about a group of hikers that had an accident that may have led to the drowning of one member. Immediately Naija7Wonders team contacted the President of NATOP and the Zonal Director of NTDC and the State Government immediately sent a team to the location.
The police are involved in the investigation and the family of the deceased has been informed.
Below is a statement issued by the organizers of the trip explaining what happened:
It is with heavy hearts we @thaoutdoortribe convey this update on the unfortunate incident that occurred over the weekend, the passing away of our dear friend and member, Stephen Tikyaa (@stephan_tk).
On Saturday 23/01/2021, a group of 60 friends from ThaOutdoorTribe went for a picnic at Farin Ruwa waterfalls, Nasarawa State. Tragically, one of our members Stephen Tikyaa who went for a swim in the waterfall with other members drowned and unfortunately passed away at the scene. Multiple attempts by other members and the safety team to rescue Stephen from drowning failed in the face of prevailing currents, and the naturally freezing temperatures of the Farin Ruwa Waterfalls. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to save him. Sadly his body could not be recovered that day.
Stephens family was contacted on the same day. They arrived at the police division command on Sunday the 24/01/2021 where we reported the case.
At our request professional divers were called in to help recover his body in the presence of his father and family, and handed over to be transported back to their hometown.
The family of the deceased have chosen not to press the matter further and appreciate efforts that were made to rescue Stephen and recover his corpse.
Contrary to what has been going about online, Stephen was not missing nor was he left behind. We make this statement with the consent of the family and ask that the public calm the false rhetoric going on online.
We @ThaOutdoorTribe and the rest of the hiking community in Abuja commiserate with the family on what is a very difficult loss for one of ours. To everyone who is understandably shaken by the incident, we acknowledge your concern and ask that you join us in keeping Stephen’s soul in your prayers.
As the family prepares for final rites, we @ThaOutdoorTribe will continue to do everything possible to help with the transition. Details will follow shortly for a candle light service, fund me campaign for the family and an online zoom session for attendees of the picnic to talk through any trauma they might still be experiencing and to help bring closure to this sad event.
Tha Outdoor Tribe