Presidential Rally Stampede: Jonathan, Amaechi express shock, mourn

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President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed shock at the numbers of persons reportedly dead at the Presidential rally in Port Hacourt and has immediately ordered an investigation.

The Host Governor Rotimi Amaechi who described the incident as painful has rushed to the Port Harcourt General Hospital to ascertain the true number of those dead and injured.

In a statement signed by Presidential Spokesman, Ima Niboro, the President said he has been heavily weighed down by the sudden loss describing the incident as “unfortunate.”

According to the statement, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has received with shock and sadness, news of the unfortunate loss of some lives due to a stampede at the Port Harcourt Liberation Stadium, during the Flag off of the South South Presidential campaign.

“The president mourns with the families of the deceased, and prays the almighty to grant repose to their souls. President Jonathan notes with a heavy heart, that these are persons who came to celebrate his success at the primaries of the PDP, and wish him well in the coming elections."

The statement continues “I am sad, and heavily weighed down by this incident. It is sad, unfortunate and regrettable. I mourn with those who mourn tonight. May God grant us all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss," he said.

The president has directed a full scale investigation into the cause of the stampede that led to the unfortunate loss of some lives. Niboro said in the statement.

However, more injured persons have been rushed to various hospitals in Port Harcourt, following the sad incident at the Liberation Stadium today. Governor Amaechi is at the moment in one of the hospitals to verify the number of those dead and that of the injured.

One of the journalists who covered the PDP rally and who would not want to be mentioned told that “I can say that whatever number of people we may hear as having been stampeded to death during that event, it should be blamed on the failure of our security agencies to effectively control the crowd. As thousands of people moved towards the stadium apparently to find their ways out, they clashed with men of the Nigerian police who, perhaps sensing that some persons among the crowd wanted to force the gates open, began shooting in the air. This aggravated the situation.”