A give-away service organised by Kings Kingdom Assembly on Saturday led to a stampede that killed about 20 persons in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and left others unconscious.
An eyewitness, however, said 15 persons were evacuated to the morgue while about five unconscious victims were battling for survival at the Military Hospital in Port Harcourt.
The church is located at Tombia extension GRA but the programme, which was organised at the Polo Club in the same area, attracted a crowd that led to the disaster before commencement of the event.
The annual event, it was learnt, provided an opportunity for the church to share free food and other valuable items to members of the public.
But the fourth edition became a disaster when a crowd that could not be controlled by the church arrived earlier than the 9am scheduled time for the event.
Another eyewitness said the church, after an all-night worship that started on Friday, announced to its members that the much-anticipated giveaway service would hold on Saturday by 9am.
The enthused church members called their neighbours, loved ones and friends and informed them about the service.
The source, who identified himself simply as Effiong said: “The programme was at the Polo Club. Most people that attended the all-night service moved from the church to the Polo Club. People called ther loved ones, neighbours and friends and told them to come for the annual giveaway event.
“Before 6am, the place was filled up. At at about 6:20am, more people arrived the venue. Sighting the number of crowd, the church closed the gate to stop others from coming in.
“The crowd outside became overwhelming and the people forced the gate opened leading to a surge of people that caused the stampede. The distribution had not even started. Many people died, others were unconscious and they were all evacuated to the hospital”.
A visit to the Polo club showed abandoned wigs, foot wears and other personal items of victims littering the ground.
Rivers Police Command Public Relation Officer, Iringe Grace Koko, could not be reached for reactions.
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