Harvest of Deaths as Buhari Rounds off Campaign in Port Harcourt

More than  20 people, mostly women, were crushed to death on Tuesday at the pedestrian gate of Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt as thousands of party supporters struggled to leave the stadium when the presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress, APC was drawn to a close.

Hundreds of others sustained serious degrees of injuries during the stampede, which eyewitnesses said happened when the police guarding the pedestrian gate blocked one side of the gate with their patrol van and tried to force back the surging crowd.

The police left the scene soon afterwards leaving rescue operations to members of the public. It took up to an hour after the incident before some ambulances came by.

The ambulances took away corpses while those that survived continued to receive support from members of the public, who tried some life sustenance methods on them.

Security men had stripped those entering the stadium of sachet water to prevent a likely pelting of the VIPs and the President with water as it happened in Abeokuta on Monday. The heat in the stadium was overbearing as the crowd who were dehydrated and exhausted had rushed out as Buhari left to rehydrate, an observer told the magazine.

The rally was a lacklustre event as President Buhari and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, lamented the barring by the courts of the party from fielding candidates for the general elections in Rivers State.

But they praised members of the party for being steadfast and patient. They also lauded APC members for waiting patiently for the rally to commence, which was delayed by eight hours.

Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, the state chairman of the party alleged that there was a deliberate conspiracy to deny the party the right to field candidates in the elections and appealed to President Buhari to intervene.

Buhari promised to do his best to ensure that the people were not denied their rights. But he said he had no option than to respect established institutions.

The Supreme Court in Abuja had on Tuesday reaffirmed that APC having flouted a court order on its congresses in Rivers State cannot present candidates for the elections.

The PDP had on Monday held its own final rally at the same Stadium in Port Harcourt where its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenged President Buhari to bring up corruption charges against him

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