A 62-year-old woman has died in a stampede while struggling to collect food palliatives shared by the Rivers State government to cushion the economic disruption caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The deceased, identified as Florence Onuobodo, was said to have died during the food distribution programme in Elele Kingdom situated in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that the 62-year-old Onuobodo died as a result of the stampede while about four other women sustained various degree of injuries.
Commenting on the incident, Eze Okechukwu Okah, a local politician in the community, blamed the development on the committee in the community and one Chief Mike Elechi.
According to Okah, the stampede could have been avoided if both had managed the process properly.
“My palliative came before the state government’s own many benefitted and nobody died. This stampede happened because one man asked the committee to move the whole item to his compound,” Okah told the Vanguard.
“We know our people are hungry, but the right thing needs to be done. They selected their loyalists to come and get the items, but other people who knew their plans got there as early as 5:00am.
“When they started their selection others started to struggle to enter the compound, their boys started flogging and pushing them backwards, in that process the stamped happened.”
But, Emmanuel Amadi, the councillor representing Elele Ward 4, at Ikwerre LGA Legislative Assembly, denied the allegation that the process was poorly managed.
Amadi stated that the stampede occurred as a result of a quarrel that ensued between women outside the gate.
He stated that it was regrettable that Florence lost her life at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.