Over 40 persons are feared dead after the stampede that happened at a charity event slated for Polo Club, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The charity event tagged “Shop For Free” organized by The Kings Assembly Church led by Pastor Chris Ugoh. The “Shop For Free” event has been an annual event since 2014. It is a non-denominational event for the less privileged as free items and food are given. Free items like sewing machines, work tools, clothes, electronics and furniture.
The deadly incident has been blamed on poor crowd management and the organizers have been arrested, this include the legal team head of the church. The church has also released a statement stating that they never anticipated the level of crowd. The church also noted that the crowd converged over the night, way before the crowd control team arrived. An eyewitness said many people were uncontrollable and lacked patient.
A statement from a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Saturday, said Mr Buhari is “deeply saddened” by the incident. The statement said the president directed that “all efforts should be made to provide relief to those injured in the unfortunate incident”.
The Rivers State Governor’s office also released the statement; “On behalf of the Government and people of Rivers State, I pray for God to grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones. I also pray for the souls of all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace. And to the injured, I wish them a speedy recovery. Rivers State government will constitute a probe panel to investigate the incident and details on what transpired.”