No fewer than 14 persons were declared dead after the presidential rally of the All Progressives Congress in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday.
According to available information, a stampede after the rally led to the death of the 14 persons.
President Muhammadu Buhari was in Rivers State in continuation of his canvassing for votes for the February 16, 2019 presidential election.
The spokesman of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, where the dead and injured were taken, Kem Daniel-Elebiga, said as at press time, 14 persons had been brought to the hospital dead, three were being attended to at the casualty unit, with more being rushed in.
Reacting to the development, Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, commiserated with the families of the deceased.
Shehu said in the statement: “President Muhammadu Buhari has just been briefed about the tragic death of some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a stampede at the presidential campaign rally held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday.
“President Buhari is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives and extends deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. He also wished a speedy recovery to all those injured.
“The President described the deaths as ‘needless loss of lives and an anti-climax to a highly successful outing’ in the oil city that could have been averted if there was an orderly exit from the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.
“It is indeed a great tragedy that Nigerians who have important roles to play in shaping the future of the country and had come to see and hear from us how hard their government is working to build a Nigeria of their dreams, would meet their end in this unfortunate circumstance.
“I assure the people, with all sense of responsibility, that the party and the government will do everything possible to ensure the well-being and safety of our citizens as they troop out to attend rallies and all other political events.”
President Buhari assured the government and the people of Rivers State as well as the affected families of the support and prayers of the Federal Government during this difficult time.
The President prayed Almighty God to grant the souls of the deceased repose