Port Harcourt Tragedy

On May 28, 2022, 31 people including children lost their lives during a stampede at the Polo Club,


Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 09:05 PM

Written by Editorial Board

On May 28, 2022, 31 people including children lost their lives during a stampede at the Polo Club, Tombia Street in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The victims had gathered at the venue for the annual charity/welfare programme of one the leading new generation churches in the state known as the Kings Assembly before the tragic incident occurred. 

According to reports, some of the victims had arrived the venue as early as 4am to be part of the event which was billed to commence at 9am. The organizers who obviously did not expect the number of people for this year's edition, were equally not prepared. So, their protocol, logistics, security and crowd control arrangements were overstretched which in turn overwhelmed them. Aside this human error, there was nothing to blame the church for. They had good and genuine intentions for the less privileged. 

All the church wanted was to reduce the suffocating level of poverty and hunger in the land. They wanted to give back to the people what they had gathered from tithes and offerings. They wanted to provide the needed succor for members of the public who were struggling to feed and finding it very difficult to wear nice clothes. It was an intervention that was worth it because of the sufferings of Nigerians. 

All over the country, poverty walks tall and gallantly on the streets. People are finding it difficult everyday to eat a decent meal. It has become so bad. Part of the result of the ravaging hunger is the rapid increase in crime rate. Kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery and other violent crimes by young people who have also found a gold mine in internet fraud (yahoo yahoo). Yet, there is no hope in sight. The All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government has so many unfulfilled promises and with just a year to the end of their tenure it is looking likely that those promises will not see the light of day. 

Another election year is fast approaching and the usual rhetoric of politicians has started manifesting. Past experiences had shown that there is nothing new in their agenda. It is perhaps worried by the antics of politicians that a group, DO-ONE-THING PRO-POOR INITIATIVE launched the DO-ONE-THING campaign. The campaign which was recently launched in Abuja, was created to call on the attention of the prospective leaders who are aspiring to vie for various political offices to give priority attention on the raging increase in the number of poor people in the country and to show to the Nigerian people that they have a practical and actionable plan to solve the prevailing poverty problems in their various constituents starting from the office of the president. 

We laud those behind the initiative and also urge them not to relent in their chosen path of making their own contributions to a change in the governance of Nigeria. If we all want a better deal for the country then all men and women of goodwill must join hands to fight our common enemies; hunger and poverty. No one is safe from an hungry man. We cannot wait until the current situation gets out of hand. 

For the families of the victims that lost their lives in the stampede, we sincerely commiserate with them. Our condolence also goes to the government and people of Rivers state on the monumental tragedy just as we pray for the repose of the souls of the dead and quick recovery for those injured. We call on the authorities to make holistic the probe into the incident and tell the world what really happened on that day. 

We recall how similar tragedies were swept under the carpet in the past. This shouldn't suffer the same fate. Everyone or group whose actions or inactions as a result of negligence that caused the avoidable death must be punished. Going forward, there must be strict measures put in place to prevent any casualty from events like that. Those concerned like the federal and state emergency agencies must be involved in the planning of large events that will attract crowd. 

We also call on the church not to be discouraged by the incident. Rather, they should review their strategy to prevent a repeat of the avoidable tragedy. They should know that accidents are part of life. They should also work with the government to reach out to the bereaved families and render any kind of assistance to them to lessen their pains. 

It is also important we call on Governor Nyesom Wike to be more practical in his poverty alleviation and empowerment scheme. His investments in critical infrastructure will be worthless without a commensurate social and welfare scheme.

The governor is always quick to dole out monies to vicitims of tragedies in other states. His benevolence is seen as misplaced and hypicrotical because it is not what his citizens are enjoying. Like they say charity begins at home. Wike's charity must begin in Rivers State.

Edited By: fadil

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