Video: Anambra Stampede: Gov. Peter Obi Speaks

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My Dear Ndi Anambra,

With a deep sense of sorrow and sadness, I address you today on the tragedy which befell us yesterday at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Idemmili North Local Government Area of Anambra State leading to the death of over twenty persons.

My heart goes out to the immediate families of the deceased, the presiding Priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obinma, the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha and indeed all Anambrarians. I assure you that the Anambra State Government in its usual manner, will give you all the needed support to comfort you at this painful period.

It is, however, necessary to state what happened at the vigil at Uke. The host of the Ministry, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obinma had personally delivered a written invitation to me, requesting that I attend the All Saints night prayers (November 1, 2013 being All Saints Day)

In my characteristic manner, I honoured that invitation, arriving the venue at about 10:00pm when the mass started with no more than 10 persons including my elder sister, Rev. Sr. Martina Obi, the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh and others as well as less than half of my security details.

It is worth-mentioning that when I was called upon by the Priest to speak as the Governor of the State at about 12 midnight when the mass ended, a group of people located in three different spots started chanting Ngige slogans and waving the brooms of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the pictures of Dr. Chris Ngige, the APC’s flag bearer in the November 16 Governorship election. It took up to 20 minutes for the priest to calm them down.

I was surprised that some people would turn a prayer ground into a campaign venue.

In my remarks, which lasted no more than five minutes, I promised to sponsor twenty indigent people from among the faithful on pilgrimage, provide access road to the premises and urged all present to pray for Anambra State and Nigeria.

The Presiding priest and all present can testify to this, and it is on tape.

I left the Adoration premises at about 3:00am on Saturday with the persons who came with me and arrived my Lodge at 3:30am only to be told after my broadcast,later in the morning where I renamed the Anambra State University (ANSU) to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University that a stampede occurred at the place where I had left three hours previously. I quickly cancelled all my engagements on Saturday and Sunday and started visiting relevant places to get first-hand information on the tragedy.

I appeal to the good people of our dear State to remain calm and prayerful as God who has been with us all this while, will help us to overcome the present sad development so that we can continue the task of turning around our State.

I have directed all security agencies to do everything possible to unearth the cause of this mayhem. A Panel of inquiry will soon be constituted to investigate what happened. Finally, I have declared three days of mourning starting from yesterday in honour of our departed ones. May their souls rest in peace!

Thank you and God bless you!

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