Thousands wounded while scrambling for Jonathan's 2m free rice in Abuja

Source: can disclose that thousands of residents of the Federal Capital Territory were wounded in Abuja as they scrambled for free bags of rice imported by the First Lady , Mrs. Patience Jonathan to boost her husband's campaign. But loyalists of the First Lady claimed that the rice was meant for distribution to widows under the Food Outreach Programme Initiative.

  According to checks, the 2m Brazilian Premium Parboiled rice was shipped into the country by the First Lady.

  The Outreach Programme, which was held at the International Conference Centre, was also attended by some wives of some state governors. The programme had gone far without hitch until it was time to distribute the 2m bags of rice which were brought to the venue in many trucks from Aso Rock. Upon sighting free rice, many hungry residents besieged the International Conference Centre to scramble for the free food.

  Some of the residents scaled through barbed wires to get the 'golden meal' and in the ensuing melee, many of the scramblers were wounded. The most amusing was the case of policemen and Road Safety Corps members that abandoned their beats to join the fray for rice.

  A woman at the ceremony, Mrs. Florence Daku, said: 'It is really sad that our politics is turning into a different thing with our psyche being abused. 'The show of shame at the Conference Centre has indicated that our leaders have nothing for us in 2011. They now find it convenient to throw rice at us.' Another Abuja resident, Milam Ahmadu Baba, said: 'You can see my swollen eyes but I succeeded in getting a bag of rice . But my wife was not too lucky. We had to resuscitate her after fainting.'

A highly-placed source said: 'The Outreach Programme is designed to mobilize Nigerians, especially women, nationwide but it has backfired on the first day. 'This is a challenge to us to go back to the drawing board to fine-tune the scheme.'

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