9 November 2013

Nigeria: Church Stampede - Don't Politicise the Incident, Obi Tells Ngige

Photo: Vanguard
The Adoration Ground after the stampede.


Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi not only accused the APC candidate, Senator Ngige of campaigning with and politicising the incident also frowned at the accusation that he campaigned at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke in Idemmili North Local Government Area. His party calls for the arrest of Senator Ngige.

Obi, in a live broadcast Sunday afternoon, addressed the people in reaction to the stampede which led to the death of over twenty persons.

He also denied attending the church service with the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the forthcoming gubernatorial election, saying he went there with APGA National Chairman, Victor Umeh, his sister, Martina Obi and less than half of his security details.

Governor Obi, who tacitly exonerated himself, explained that he left the venue before the unfortunate incident occurred.

Expectedly, he accused the opposition of adding "political colouration to a disaster which occurred at a religious centre".

Below is full text of his live broadcast obtained by DailyPost in Abuja.

The abridged text of the broadcast read in part:

"It is, however, necessary to state what happened at the vigil at Uke.

The host of the Ministry, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obinma had personally delivered a written invitation to me, requesting that I attend the All Saints night prayers (November 1, 2013 being All Saints Day).

"In my characteristic manner, I honoured that invitation, arriving the venue at about 10:00pm when the mass started with no more than 10 persons including my elder sister, Rev. Sr. Martina Obi, the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh and others as well as less than half of my security details.

"It is worth-mentioning that when I was called upon by the Priest to speak as the Governor of the State at about 12 midnight when the mass ended, a group of people located in three different spots started chanting Ngige slogans and waving the brooms of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the pictures of Dr. Chris Ngige, the APC's flag bearer in the November 16 Governorship election.

"It took up to 20 minutes for the priest to calm them down. I was surprised that some people would turn a prayer ground into a campaign venue.

"In my remarks, which lasted no more than five minutes, I promised to sponsor twenty indigent people from among the faithful on pilgrimage, provide access road to the premises and urged all present to pray for Anambra State and Nigeria.

"The Presiding priest and all present can testify to this, and it is on tape.

"I left the Adoration premises at about 3:00am on Saturday with the persons who came with me and arrived my Lodge at 3:30am only to be told after my broadcast, later in the morning where I renamed the Anambra State University (ANSU) to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University that a stampede occurred at the place where I had left three hours previously. I quickly cancelled all my engagements on Saturday and Sunday and started visiting relevant places to get first-hand information on the tragedy.

"I appeal to the good people of our dear State to remain calm and prayerful as God who has been with us all this while, will help us to overcome the present sad development so that we can continue the task of turning around our State.

I have directed all security agencies to do everything possible to unearth the cause of this mayhem. A Panel of inquiry will soon be constituted to investigate what happened. Finally, I have declared three days of mourning starting from yesterday in honour of our departed ones. May their souls rest in peace!

Umeh calls for arrest of Ngige

Like the APC, the National Chairman, APGA Chief Victor Umeh, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to arrest all those involved in the stampede at Adoration Ground at Uke, Idemmili North Local Government Area, Anambra State, leading to the death of 28 worshippers.

Umeh also called on Inspector General of Police to effect the immediate arrest of Senator Chris Ngige for his role in the death of 28 worshippers.

Umeh, addressed a press conference in Awka, where he urged the police to move for Ngige's arrest "for instigating the pandemonium that ensued at the end of the crusade which left scores of people dead and injured."

Umeh, who premised his call on the actions of Ngige and his supporters, wondered what his supporters were doing at the crusade ground with their party symbols consisting of brooms and posters of Ngige if it was not part of an orchestrated plot to cause confusion at the prayer ground in search of cheap propaganda.

"From what happened at the Holy Ghost Adoration ground, it was obvious that the mayhem and pandemonium were carefully planned and executed by Dr Chris Ngige's team.

"He has been very notorious for this type of antics. Having wasted about 25 human lives, it will be so little to say that the police should (only) come here and ask people questions.

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