By JIMITOTA ONOYUME
THE best way to honour those who died in last Saturday’s stampede at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s presidential rally for the South South region in Port Harcourt is to ensure Nigerians have a free and fair elections, Governor Chibuike Amaechi said, as he received a Federal Government delegation led by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Meanwhile, Vice President Sambo has come under attack for visiting those hospitalised from last the stampede without offering them on the spot cash assistance to cater for their immediate needs. Some of them who spoke to the Vanguard after the visit, said they were not happy that he merely visited to commiserate with them.
Governor Amaechi, who said he lost an in law and the party’s women leader from his Ubima village in the stampede, lamented the sad incident. He expressed the hope that the report of the presidential panel of inquiry on the incident would guide against a similar fate in the future. Describing the ugly development as very painful and one that had created a difficult moment, the Governor said it was not the wish of any Governor to lose lives during his reign.
Governor Amaechi, who thanked the Vice President and members of the PDP National Working Committee for coming to Port Harcourt to condole with the people, noted that President Goodluck Jonathan had once again showed his humane nature.
Meanwhile, the victims, who were not happy that not offered cash assistance, had expected that Vice President Sambo would have offered them some financial assistance to enable them take care of their pressing needs. The patients who expressed profound gratitude to the Rivers State government said the state government had shouldered all costs relating to their treatment since they were admitted.
Continuing, they said Governor Amaechi also sent N10,000 to each of them to take care of issues outside their treatment. Some of them, who said the sad incident had disconnected them from their children and dependents expressed serious worries with the state of their family members.
Meanwhile, the presidential panel of Inquiry on the incident commenced sitting, yesterday, in Port Harcourt. Chairman of the panel, Assistant Inspector General of Police, M. Abubakar enjoined eye witnesses of the sad incident at the Liberation stadium to turn up at the sitting of the panel to tell their stories.
He said their comments and observations would assist the nation avert similar ugly experience in the future.