More than 31 people were killed and others injured when a stampede broke out at a church event in Southern Nigeria’s Port Harcourt city, according to Nigeria Officials. Hundred of people who had turned up early Saturday to receive food at the church broke through a gate, causing stampede.
“A local King’s Assembly church organization was offering food and gifts for impoverished at the Port Harcourt Polo Club when a ‘mammoth’ crowd got out of control,” Police said, adding that “The crowd became tumultuous and uncontrollable, and all efforts made by the organisers to bring sanity proved abortive. Most of the causalities were children.”
Images posted on social media and verified by AFP showed families crying and attending to the injured people, many of them children, outside the city’s military hospital.
The police spokesperson said seven others were injured but are “responding to treatment” they have already launched investigation to the incident.
Nigeria has seen several stampede tragedies over food distribution in recent years, including an aid agency food programme in north Borno State where seven women were trampled to death last year.
Port Harcourt is the main oil hub in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s largest petroleum producer. Despite its oil wealth, as many as 4 out of 10 Nigerians live below the national poverty level, according to a recent World Bank Report
The Ukraine crisis has also pushed up the cost of food and fuel across the continent as wheat and gas supplies are impacted, with aid agencies warning about worsening food insecurity in Africa.