Authorities said only 20 people were rescued when the ferry travelling between Niger state and Kebbi state in the north-west broke in two.
Yusuf Birma, head of the National Inland Waterways Authority (Niwa) in Kebbi state told the BBC that 30 bodies have so far been recovered.
"There's no hope of finding any survivors at this moment," he said.
The true death toll may never be known. Some reports said the boat had been carrying up to 200 people, mostly women and children.