Sunday, October 8, 2017 2:16 pm
The Akwa Ibom State government has described a newspaper report that five people were feared dead following a stampede at one of the gates of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo during the Nigeria vs Zambia World Cup Qualifier last Saturday as untrue.
“I wish to categorically state that the said report is false and tainted with malice,” Charles Udoh, Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Akwa Ibom State said in a statement on Sunday afternoon.
He however said nine people were injured in the process of trying to gain entrance into the stadium.
Udoh said, “There was a rush by spectators; who arrived at the venue after the match had started, trying to gain entrance into the stadium which led to a few of them sustaining minor injuries.
“There were 9 people injured during the incident and all of them were taken to the hospital for treatment while no life was lost. This much was confirmed by the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer and the Commissioner for Health.”
The Commissioner added that “Godswill Akpabio International Stadium is probably the best maintained sporting facility in Nigeria today and has no history of poor crowd control as maliciously posited in the report,” even as he lamented that the report may have a negative implication on Nigeria.
“We are dismayed that such a report; which has a high potency of painting a negative picture of not only Akwa Ibom but Nigeria as country, was published without verifying the facts. It is instructive to note that the Nigeria vs Zambia match was a FIFA organized match and mischievous insinuations as contained in the said report could easily lead to Nigeria being sanctioned.
“It is my sincere hope that the author of the said report will take the pains to ensure the veracity of information in future before publication.”