Human Lives Human Rights: At least 31 people have been killed and seven others injured during a stampede at a church event in southern Nigeria’s Port Harcourt city, a police spokesperson said, AFP reported.
According to a CNN report, one witness said the dead included a pregnant woman and many children.
“During the process of distributing the gift items, there was a stampede due to overcrowding,” CNN quoted Nigeria’s Civil Defense Corps as saying. “Casualties were children mostly,” he said.
Grace Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko, police spokesperson for Rivers state informed that hundreds of people had turned up for food at the church early on Saturday and broke through a gate, causing the stampede.
“People were there earlier and some got impatient and started rushing, which led to stampeding. The police are on the ground monitoring the situation while the investigation is ongoing,” Iringe-Koko told Reuters.
Iringe-Koko said the crowd forced their way into the venue, despite the fact that the gate was closed, resulting in the mishap.
The “Shop for Free” event was suspended while authorities investigated how the stampede occurred.
Such events are common in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, where according to government statistics, more than 80 million people live in poverty, yet international community prefers to remain in silent mode.