By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has distributed federally donated relief supplies to families of victims of the Polo Club stampede in Port Harcourt.
Our correspondent recalls that the stampede, which claimed the lives of 39 people, occurred on May 28 during a ‘Free Shopping’ event organized by the Kings Assembly Church to donate essential goods to members of the public. .
NEMA’s National Chief Executive, Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, had handed over the relief materials to the church’s senior pastor on June 9 during a condolence visit to the Rivers government and the stampede victims.
During the distribution, DG Ahmed, who was represented by Mr. Godwin Tepikor, the South-South Zone Coordinator of NEMA, said that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered NEMA to distribute the materials.
He said: “What we are witnessing today is a direct distribution of these items donated by the Federal Government through NEMA to families who have been affected by the stampede.
He said food and non-food items donated by the federal government were delivered directly to the victims’ families on Friday.
The items included 1,000 bags of rice (10 kg), 50 drums of vegetable oil, 30 cartons of seasoning cubes, 20 bags of salt, 21 cartons of tinned tomatoes, 1,000 pieces of nylon mats and 1,000 pieces of towels.
The others are: 1,000 pieces of mosquito nets, 50 boxes of bath soap, 500 pieces of mattresses, 500 pieces of blankets, 500 pieces of brocade, 500 pieces of wax printing, 100 packets of diapers, 100 packets of sanitary napkins , 100 bags of detergents .
He said the items were donated to 10 families who suffered varying degrees of injuries, who were treated and discharged, and to 39 families of those who died.
“Nine men and 30 women have died, while we have three men and six women treated; the church processed and paid their bills. A total of 49 people were involved,” he said.
He also offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.
Some family members of the deceased in an interview expressed their gratitude to the federal government through NEMA for their gesture.
Mrs. Silvaline Emesokwu, the older sister of one of the deceased, Patience Emesokwu, who spoke to NAN also expressed her gratitude to the federal government for the items given to them.
Emesokwu said his late sister left behind two children who now have additional family responsibilities.
“The children of my deceased sisters were scholarships in their school before their mother died, now they are supposed to continue their studies if society makes it right.
“But we know that when a death occurs, people lose a lot because of the absence of the breadwinner in the family.
“We are now looking for money to bury him, I take this opportunity to appeal to the state government and the federal government to help us bury our people;
“We are also calling on the feds to tell officials to release the bodies for us instead of telling us to go swear affidavits, go to the police to get a police report, all of these processes involve money .
“I beg the government and the church to help us with their burials,” she said.
Mr Boms Emmanuel, who lost a nine-year-old daughter in the incident, called on the federal government and the church to help the families of the deceased with funds to bury the deceased victims.
Mr. Chris Ugoh, Senior Pastor of King’s Assembly, Port Harcourt expressed his gratitude to the Federal Government through NEMA for assisting the church and the families of the victims.
“We are deeply sorry for what happened because since 2014, when we started serving the city every year, looking after the needs of orphans, the less privileged, we have not experienced any incident or problem. so ugly.
“We pray that something like this never happens again, I am particularly touched that the Director General can take the time to come and see us today.
“Everything will be safe and distributed appropriately so the people who should get it will get it,” Ugoh said.