Stampede At Nigerian Church Kills 31 People Including Children As They Attempt To Collect Food
Nigerians lose patience while queuing for free food at a church, causing a stampede that has killed 31 people including children and a pregnant woman. A police spokesperson has said that at least 31 people have been confirmed dead while others remain seriously injured.
Hundreds of Nigerians who had turned up at the church to receive free food decided to break through a gate, causing a catastrophic stampede.
Grace Iringe-Koko, a police spokesperson for Rivers State, said: "People were there earlier and some got impatient and started rushing, which led to stampeding.
Ms Iringe-Koko added: "The police are on the ground monitoring the situation while the investigation is ongoing."
The event had been organised by the Kings Assembly Pentecostal church in Rivers State and involved those who came to the church's annual "Shop for Free" charity programme. Unfortunately, many of the Nigerians refused to queue orderly and caused a huge stampede that left many dead.
The event was due to start at 9 am, but dozens of people turned up as early as 5 am to try and secure their place in the line, Ms Iringe-Koko said.
First responders attended the scene and recovered the bodies of those who had been trampled to death and took them to the local morgue, Godwin Tepikor, from Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.
A witness named Daniel said "there were so many children" among the dead. He also said that out of the dead children, five of them were from the same family and that a pregnant woman was also killed.
Another witness, Christopher Eze, told the media how several members of the church were also attacked by relatives of the victims after the stampede.
Nigeria is Africa's largest economy, and more than 80 million people live in poverty, according to government statistics.