Relief materials’ll not bring back the dead – Stampede victims’ families


The National Emergency Management Agency has distributed relief materials to victims of the stampede which led to the death of 31 persons at the Polo Club in Port Harcourt.

Recall that the police had confirmed that 31 persons died on Saturday, May 28 before the commencement of an outreach tagged ‘Shop for Free’ by a new generation church, the Kings Assembly in the Rivers State capital.

The programme had yet to start before a rush early that morning led to a stampede and the resultant tragedy.

Speaking, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Godwin Tepikor, told newsmen that the agency distributed the items to over 40 families affected by the stampede.

Tepikor explained that the exercise was sequel to a directive by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for the agency to respond to the situation.

He said, “Consequent upon that, Mr. President directed the NEMA to respond to that incident.

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“As a result, on the 9th of this month, the Director General of NEMA, Ahmed Mustapha Habib, was here to, on behalf of the Federal Government, condole with the state and families of those who were affected by that incident and presented relief materials to those families.

“What we are witnessing today is the direct distribution of those items approved by the Federal Government through NEMA to those persons that were affected by that incident.”

Some affected families who spoke to our correspondent thanked the Federal Government for the gesture.

They, however, appealed for assistance to bury their loved ones who died in the stampede.

One of them, Samuel Eke, said, “Taking all these items they have given us would not solve our problems. If they had converted these things to money, at least, it will assist us to bury our loves ones. I lost my first child who was five years old.

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“Though I know the Federal Government has tried through NEMA to give us these things, we are not happy that the church has not made any effort to trace us and sympathise with us since this incident happened.”

On her part, Deborah who said she lost her daughter expressed disappointment that nobody had visited her since the incident.

“It is only God that can wipe away our tears. I don’t even understand what they are doing here. But I hand over everything to God. Whatever I see, I take, but it cannot bring back my daughter’s life,” she stated with tear-filled eyes.

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