Saturday, November 2, 2013


No fewer than 28 persons, who attended the weekly crusade at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, in Idemili North local government area of Anambra State, lost their lives during a stampede at the end of the ceremony in the early hours of Saturday.

The crusade, organized by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obinma for prayers, healing and spiritual retreat, attracts thousands of people, but the one that was held Saturday, on the Feast of All Saints turned tragic.

The stampede occurred shortly after Governor Peter Obi, the governorship candidate of the All progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Willie Obiano and the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, vacated the venue.

The personalities were said to have gone to the ground for the all-night vigil for spiritual intervention ahead of the November 16 election in the state.

However, the tragedy has been believed in some quarters to have political undertone because supporters of Governor Peter Obi and Senator Chris Ngige are already trading blames over who was responsible for the sad incident.

It was gathered that the stampede resulted when some worshipers, alleged to be supporters of Ngige, heckled Governor Obi during his address in church.

However, in retaliation, worshipers believed to be supporters of Obi, blocked the way when Ngige wanted to leave the venue.

“Because of the commotion, the governor’s security team shot into the air to clear the way which caused pandemonium among the worshipers leading to the stampede,” an eyewitness said.

 It was gathered that the ground was fuller than usual because of the presence of the high profile politicians, who visited for the vigil.

As estimated 100,000 worshipers attended the crusade because, apart from coinciding with the Feast of All Saints, it was also the first Saturday of the month.

Apart from the dead 28, whose bodies were said to have been deposited at Immaculate Heart Hospital and Maternity, Nkpor and Charles Borromew Hospital, Onitsha, several others, who sustained various degrees of injuries, are receiving treatment in various hospitals in Onitsha.

While the police PRO said he could not give figures, the catholic priest said he was shocked at the incident.

Both Governor Obi and Senator Ngige have visited the hospitals where the injured where taken to, to sympathise with them.