More than 30 feared dead in Port Harcourt church’s free shopping event

Shoes left behind at the venue of the stampede in Rivers

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

No fewer than 30 people are feared dead during a stampede at the Port Harcourt Polo club while rushing to get giveaways from a free shopping programme organised by Kings Assembly International, Church/

Thousands of people from all parts of Rivers State had gathered at the venue of the programme aimed at helping the less privileged in the society titled ‘Shop for Free” as early as 2 am on Saturday morning.

It was gathered that the stampede and deaths happened as the crowd were trying to force their way area designated for the event at the polo club.

An eyewitness blamed the tragedy on poor crowd control.

“A nursing mother with her new born baby of about four months were victims. I had to leave the event when I saw the increasing number of people to rushing to get things free. There was no cowd control. Ambulances,Policemen and other security agencies have been rushing the injured and evacuating the dead bodies at the scene”,Nursing Mother.

As at the time of filling this report, over 39 dead bodies have been counted so far, including a pregnant lady and three children.

Though Kings Assembly International Church,Port Harcourt has not reacted to the unfortunate incident, it was learnt some of top elders of the Church had been arrested and detained at the Olu Obasanjo Police Division.

Also, it was learnt tat the Church’s Legal Adviser has been arrested.

A mobile police man was also disarmed by the Olu-obasanjo Police Station as it was discovered that he was on “illegal” duty at the venue of the free shopping event.

Other persons who were injured were rushed to the hospital.