False alarm and lack of proper crowd control mechanism have been identified as the major causes of the stampede that occurred at the Uke Adoration Prayer Ground, contradicting claims linking the supporters of the Governorship candidate of the All progressives Congress to the incident.
The Chairman, Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State, Mr. Aloysius Attah, who was at the ground on the day of the incident, told Channels Television that false alarm triggered the stampede.
Mr. Aloysius pointed out that the recorded deaths occurred as a result of poor crowd control mechanism.
He explained that people were selling items by the side of the narrow road where a large number of people trooping to the prayer ground were also passing.
“People were selling sacramental items, food stuffs, snacks and all manner of things by the road side. There were motorcycles packed by the same roadside and some makeshift kiosks. There was a woman frying Akara (beans-cake) and these things are what could easily cause stampede,” he explained.
Contrary to police report that there were other exit routes to the ground, Mr. Aloysius said that there was only a major entrance and exit route to the place.
“Many people do not know other exit routes that are available,” he said.
The programme, which was supposed to be a prayer meeting for Christian faithful, was turned to a political campaign ground as several parties present at the ground came with one item or the other to identify with their political party.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had blamed the supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC’s candidate for the stampede, claiming that they were at the prayer ground with posters of the governorship candidate of the Party, Dr. Chris Ngige.
As a result of this claim, the party sought the arrest of Ngige.
The APC has also insisted that the APGA members at the ground came in their party regalia, an act they claim was a form of campaign.
Mr. Aloysius confirmed the claims by both parties as true. He also confirmed that there was an alarm of fire at the prayer ground, but said that there was actually no fire.
On Channels Television Programme, Sunrise, the party members, Commissioner for Information, Anambra State, Joe Martins, a member of the APGA and Mr Joe Igbokwe of the APC, accused each other’s political party for the stampede that left at least 27 people dead.