Over 30 Die In Stampede At Church Food Event In Nigeria
More than thirty people were killed on the Saturday in a stampede in southern Nigeria during an overcrowded church charity event where food was being distributed. Shoes and slippers lay scattered on the ground after the disaster in Port Harcourt city in southern Rivers State when people tried to force their way into the event, police
and the witnesses said. A local Kings Assembly church organisation was then offering food and gifts for the impoverished at the Port Harcourt Polo Club when a mammoth crowd got out of control, Rivers State Police said. Unfortunately, the crowd became tumultuous and uncontrollable and all efforts made by the organisers to
bring sanity proved abortive hence, the stampede, the police said in a statement. A total of 31 persons lost their lives in the stampede. Images posted on social media showed families crying and attending to injured people, including many children, outside the city's military hospital. Police said a criminal investigation was
underway. National Emergency Management Agency southern region coordinator Godwin Tepikor said the church members had been seated inside when the crowd of people rushed in. A huge crowd from outside surged into the club through a narrow gate, resulting in the stampede, he said. The injured and the
dead have been evacuated to the hospital and mortuary. Representatives of the church could not immediately be contacted for comment. Nigeria has seen several stampede tragedies over food distribution in recent years, including an aid agency food programme in north Borno State where seven women were trampled to death last year.