By Ovasa Ogaga,
An old woman, whose identity cannot be ascertain as at press time has allegedly died from stampede while struggling to get Christmas rice in Sapele, Sapele local government area of Delta state.
The woman was said to be trampled upon during Christmas day sharing of rice and groundnut oil for the less privileged persons which is a yearly program by the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, board chairman, Hon Michael Diden also known as Ejele, at his residence close to total junction by new road in Sapele.
While some sources said the stampede happened outside his house close to the church, where the palliatives were shared to everyone including his church members, others insisted that the stampede occurred inside his compound, where the food items were distributed.
It was gathered that two other persons who were involved in the stampede were treated by a medical team stationed there while the decease whose condition appeared to be critical, was referred to a private hospital, close to his church where she later died.
An eyewitness told our reporter that “You know the Chairman (Hon Diden) always distribute foodstuffs to the poor and the needy every festivity period, so the crowd came today (25th of December) to collect their share which resulted into stampede, the old woman fell in the course of the stampede and she was trampled upon, it’s the first time this is happening for a very long time” the woman who craved anonymity said.
“We know that times are hard and chairman has really been helpful, I don’t know why this has to happen,” adding that the body of the aged women has been kept in a private mortuary.
Meanwhile, another source at the DESOPADEC boss compound, Ogbitse Anthony said that though there was stampede as people were rushing to get theirs, “nobody died, the woman was taken to a private clinic and she has recovered,” though he refused to disclose the clinic the old woman was taken to.
However, attempt to confirm the story from the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onowakpoyeya was abortive as her number seems, not to be connecting.