Iraqi Parliament sacks Nineveh governor, orders compensation for Mosul ferry victims
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Parliament on Sunday sacked Nineveh Governor Nawfal al-Akub and his deputies by a majority vote days after the overturn of a ferry in Mosul that killed over 90 people.
The dismissal came after Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s recent request to remove Akub and his deputies for “the negligence and ignorance evident in the performance of their duty and responsibility.”
Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi on Sunday said parliament “sees the need to work seriously and urgently with the executive authority to identify the reasons that led to this incident [ferry overturn] and work to find solutions to prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents” in Mosul and other cities.
The ferry sank on Thursday afternoon as it was transporting people to a man-made island resort on the Tigris River in what was described as the worst single disaster to strike the embattled city of Mosul since it was retaken from the Islamic State in 2017.
Over 90 people are dead and dozens more still missing, local authorities told Kurdistan 24. The ferry loaded about 250 passengers, way more than its capacity of 50.
The Iraqi Parliament also voted to complete investigations into the incident and to hold those responsible. It also decided to register the dead victims as “martyrs” – whose families will be entitled to receive monthly salaries – and to financially compensate others.
It called for an investigation into all the financial and administrative corruption files in Nineveh province.
The parliament urged the government to launch an urgent campaign to rebuild Nineveh and allocate a budget for the province that had been considerably damaged during the war against the Islamic State.
Residents of Mosul accuse the local authorities of the ferry overturn incident, pointing to negligence of safety measures.
Surveillance footage at the site of the incident shows that some 250 people were boarding the ferry minutes before it sank in the Tigris River.
Some angry protesters in Mosul blamed the Nineveh Provincial Council for the incident.
A parliamentary source told Kurdistan 24 that Halbousi had already received a letter which 121 lawmakers had signed, demanding the Council be dissolved and referring it to the judiciary for “serious irregularities” in Nineveh’s files.
He said the speaker had referred the request to the legal committee and advisers in the parliament for discussion.
Since the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State in 2017, corruption allegations in the region have increased as reconstruction in the country’s second-largest city has been disrupted by a three-year-long devastating war between Iraqi forces and the extremist group.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany