Stampede from Patience Jonathan’s Visit to Bayelsa Leaves one dead, Residents Said She Gave Expired Rice
The visit to Bayelsa state by wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan, where she had gone for an empowerment program” she had claimed was from the MDG, only to be confronted with a political rally for the president’s re-election turned bloody on Friday.
Residents of Bayelsa gathered at the Samson Siasia stadium, venue of the distribution of economic empowerment items and commodities only to be tear-gased by policeman and some overzealous security operatives using batons on women.
The incident led to a stampede leaving a kid was feared dead while another suffered leg fracture.
According to eyewitnesses, the kids were trampled on in a stampede caused by armed security men including men of the Joint Task Force code named Operation Pulo Shield.
Aside the stampede, the residents laments their inability to access the commodities, while some others said she gave them expired rice.
One woman who could not hold her frustration and anger, Preye Dressman, said the whole thing was deceitful.
“We came from our communities since 5 a.m.; I have not eaten and stayed under sun and rain, and now they are sending us home with empty hands.”
She said, “Is it because general elections are around the corner? In fact, if I were some people, I will reject any empowerment. Where was she all this while? Some of us have refused to be deceived by this political gimmick. Look at the kind of suffering one is going through because she is coming. Must she create tension each time she visits anywhere? I have been trapped in this traffic logjam for a long time for a journey that would not have been more than 30 minutes.” Commuters and motorists who were trapped in the gridlock created by the visit were seen struggling to make detours.
Several bags of rice repackaged in bags branded with Mr. Jonathan’s photos, sewing machines, hair dryers, and tricycles known also “Keke NAPEP” were distributed to some at the rally. However, several of the women left empty-handed.
A cursory investigation showed that most of the items, especially food items, had expired, and most them were later diverted to Peoples Democratic Party politicians for onward distribution exclusively to their followers.
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