Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar yesterday demanded investigation into the death of some Nigerians at the PDP presidential rally in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
In a message of condolence issued by his media office in Abuja on Sunday, Mr Abubakar, who lost to President Goodluck Jonathan at last month's presidential primaries of the party, described the death of the Nigerians as a tragedy.
No fewer than 16 people lost their lives during a stampede at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt where the PDP held its presidential campaign rally at the weekend.The former vice president, however, implored the ruling party and the government not to desert the families of the deceased as they are ‘heroes of democracy'.
The campaign organisation of the presidential candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Nuhu Ribadu also described the deaths as avoidable and tragic loss. In a statement by its Director of Media and Communications, Ibrahim Modibbo, the organisation said it sympathises with the family of the deceased and prays that "God will grant them the fortitude to bear the loss."
The organisation however asked all political parties to ensure that adequate security measures are taken before, during and after campaign rallies and programmes. The organisation also called for the police to be more efficient in their duties, particularly during this campaign season as "more political rallies will definitely take place."
In the wake of the tragic incident ,the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Obot Akpabio, has set up a team of medical experts to assist some of the victims of the stampede.
The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Usoro I. Usoro, said that "a delegation headed by the Commissioner for Health, of the state, Louisa Ukpe, left Uyo for Port Harcourt, immediately after the incident, to offer medical assistance towards fore-stalling further loss of lives.
"The team is also expected to search all hospitals and other health facilities with a view to identifying all Akwa Ibom indigenes who might have been involved in the incident and offer immediate help to them." Mr. Akpabio said that the victims of the stampede were part of the teaming crowd of supporters that thronged the Liberation Stadium to show overwhelming solidarity to their son, Mr Jonathan.
The governor however urged Nigerians to vote overwhelmingly for Mr Jonathan as a mark of honour in memory of those who died in the incident. "Today and always, we will always remember their loyalty and support which they carried to the end. Our heart goes out to them. We mourn with the families of those mourning and pray with a deep sense of sorrow that the Almighty God should console them over this unexpected calamity", the governor said.