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Church Stampede: One Tragedy Too Many

Published on November 6, 2013 by   ·   No Comments

That, indeed, shows eloquently that lives are not valued in the Nigerian society. Since that unfortunate incident occurred, Nigerians as well as government officials have treated those lives that were lost with levity. Instead of treating the stampede with a sense of loss and sobriety so that such an ugly incident does not occur in the future, politicians are trading blame.

It is gratifying to note that the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Diocese, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke, represented by Reverend Father Uche Ukor, the Director of Social Communications, has cleared the air on what really happened in Uke last weekend. He attributed the stampede to ‘false alarm,’ adding that it was not caused by sabotage. He also denied reports that the stampede was caused by a snake.

Still, the horrendous aspect of the incident is that it occurred shortly after Obi and his entourage had left the centre. In a more organised society, that stampede should have been prevented. While the church authorities should have put in place the appropriate crowd-control mechanism, the state security personnel as well as the government officials who accompanied the governor to the prayer ground should not have gone immediately the governor left.

No sooner had the incident occurred that politicians in the state started playing the blame game. Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and the members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, blamed the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Dr Chris Ngige for causing it. While, on his part, Ngige said the stampede was caused by Governor Obi’s supporters.

We condemn the laxity on  the part of the organisers of that event and the state security personnel. We also condemn the politicisation of such an unfortunate and unnecessary incident. It is the responsibility of government to protect life and property, and not to play the blame game whenever avoidable tragedies occur. Policticians should stop taking their electioneering campaigns to churches to avoid this kind of tragic backlash.

Last Sunday, Nigerians once again woke  to the dismal news that more than 30 worshippers died in a stampede at the Holy Adoration Centre in Uke, Anambra State. While we sympathise with the families of those who lost loved ones in that unfortunate incident, we vehemently frown at the ignoble manner in which the tragedy has been politicised.

Of course, that nonchalant attitude is not coming as a surprise. Deaths occur in our society with so much rapidity that they have become part of our daily lives. What with Boko Haram extremists killing innocent Nigerians daily and other avoidable deaths caused by road accidents, air crashes, armed robbery, etc. People no longer bat their eyelids when deaths occur in our society.


Posted by on November 6, 2013, 3:42 pm. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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