Scores of people are feared dead in a stampede just before the commencement of a programme organised by a new generation church in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Though the church known as ‘Kings Assembly’ is located in the GRA area of the metropolis, the programme was held at the Polo Club in the Rivers State capital to accommodate the usually large congregation.
It was learnt that the crowd overstretched the venue as the church had invited members of the public to come and receive gift items and free food for its fourth anniversary.
A source said some of the invitees arrived since Friday evening, while others arrived as early as 6.30am on Saturday for an event that was supposed to start by 9am.
He said most of the victims were taken to the nearby military hospital in Port Harcourt.
“As I speak with you, I have counted 21 corpses at the military hospital. I heard some were taken to a different facility.
“This is not the first time the church is holding this programme, but the crowd since yesterday (Friday) till this morning is too much
“It was said that gift items and free food would be served. It is very painful,” the source who pleaded anonymity stated.
It was learnt that the small gate leading into the venue was pushed open on Saturday morning to enable the congregants occupy good positions leading to a stampede.
When contacted, the acting spokesperson for the state Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident, but could not give a figure just yet.
“I am doing a press statement on the incident. It will be released soon,” she said.