More than 30 dead in Nigeria stampede
On Saturday, more than 30 people were killed in a stampede in southern Nigeria during an overcrowded church charity event.
On Saturday, more than 30 people were murdered in a stampede in Port Harcourt, Southern Rivers State in southern Nigeria during an overcrowded church charity event where food was distributed. Following the incident, shoes and slippers could be found on the ground.
According to police and witnesses, individuals tried to push their way into the event as the local Kings Assembly religious group was providing food and presents to the poor at the Port Harcourt Polo Club when a "mammoth" throng became unruly, according to Rivers State police.
In a statement yesterday, the police stated "Unfortunately, the crowd became tumultuous and uncontrollable and all efforts made by the organizers to bring sanity proved abortive hence the stampede."
"A total of 31 persons lost their lives in the stampede."
Images shared on social media and confirmed by AFP showed family sobbing and ministering to injured individuals, many of whom were youngsters, outside the city's military hospital, while police said a criminal investigation is underway.
Godwin Tepikor, the southern area coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, told AFP that church members were seated inside when the throng surged 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."
The church's representatives could not be reached for comment immediately.
In recent years, Nigeria has experienced multiple stampede catastrophes involving food distribution, including an aid agency feeding program in north Borno State, where seven women were trampled to death last year.
Saturday's early morning calamity occurred as leaders of the opposition People's Democratic Party gathered in Abuja to choose their candidate for the 2023 presidential election, with Rivers State governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike among the candidates.
Nigeria, Africa's most populated country and the continent's major petroleum producer, has its primary oil center in Port Harcourt.
Despite its oil wealth, a recent World Bank report found that four out of every ten Nigerians live below the national poverty line.
The Ukraine conflict has also increased the cost of food and fuel throughout the continent due to disruptions in wheat and gas supply, with humanitarian organizations warning of rising food shortages in Africa.