This Day (Lagos)

5 November 2013

Nigeria: Anambra Stampede - CAN Bans Political Campaigns in Churches

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The Arch Bishop who laid the blame squarely on some desperate politicians in the state looking for another backdoor route to power also pinned the cause of the stampede to a false fire alarm raised by some mischief makers at the Adoration Ground.

He also revealed that the report he got on the tragic incident showed that Obi and his entourage left the venue at about 3.00 a.m while the false fire alarm that led to the stampede and death of the innocent citizens took place at about 5.30 to 6.00a.m.

However, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, while commiserating with the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha over the tragic stampede, said it was an unavoidable death. In a condolence message, the Senate President said reported accounts of the incident indicated that the death could have been avoided and prayed against the reoccurrence of such a dreadful incident among the Catholic community.

Meanwhile, Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, has also condoled with the government and people of Anambra State over the incident.

In a letter of condolence to Obi signed by his chief press secretary, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, Governor Orji who said he was saddened by the untimely death of the worshippers, prayed for the quick recovery of the injured ones. The Abia State governor said both the government and the people of the state would continue to offer prayers for the families of those who lost their loved ones and those that suffered injuries. Also, Senator Andy Uba has expressed deep shock over the tragic event, even as he condoled with the families of the victims. . He noted that it is disheartening that people who left their homes to a place of worship without the premonition of death will meet their death in such a horrific, painful and senseless manner. I will like to enjoin all political players to have respect for the sanctity of human lives and people's right to worship their God in relative peace, devoid of interferences by politicians.

But a Non-Governmental organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS' ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has decried what it calls the senseless and insensitive dancing on the graves of the departed worshippers who perished in the stampede.

Besides, the Rights group has called for the setting up of an independent judicial commission of inquiry by the Anambra State government to unravel the remote and immediate circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident, name and prosecute the indicted culprits devoid of political witch hunting and to pay proper financial compensation to surviving relatives of all the late 28 worshippers.

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