Many Injured as Podium collapses at Pro-Jonathan rally

Victims of the collapses podium

The North Central rally of Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) to garner support for President Goodluck Jonathan second term ambition nearly ended abruptly on Saturday in Minna when thestand accommodating dignitaries collapsed leaving many people injured.

The programme was mid-way when at about 11:05am the stand carved in and dignitaries, protocol officers scampered for safety.

The Niger State governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, deputy governors of Kogi and Sokoton Yomi Awoniyi and Muktar Shagari, the Secretary to the Federal government, Senator Pius Anyim Pius, Senator, Ministers of Information, Water Resources, Internal Affairs, National Planning and Minister of State FCT were among the dignitaries on the stand.

But the wife of Niger State governor, Hajiya Jumai Babangida Aliyu, her protocol officer, the Senator-Elect for Niger East Senatorial zone, Dr. Shem Zagbayi Nuhu, Director General of Protocol, Captain M. Baro, Director General Public Affairs, Alhaji Tanko dada, some protocol and detail officers attached to some dignitaries were not lucky. They sustained various degrees of injuries.

The affected persons were rushed in National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) ambulances to a Bay Clinic ( a private hospital) and General Hospital in Minna.

Some of those who were injured had broken heads, hands and legs.

No sooner peace returned to the arena that dignitaries that those who were not hurt were relocated to the podium set for speech making, while delegates abandoned other stands for fear of collapsing.

The development forced many delegates to head for their vehicles and returned while the organisers continued to address a very scanty audience compared with the crowd before the collapse.

Efforts to get the number of victims failed as calls to NEMA officials could not be reached, while government officials were not forth coming.

The Niger state Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu in his address said that the incident ‎should be regarded as a sacrifice and a sign of success and victory for President Jonathan.

He blamed the collapse of the VIP stand on the huge crowd on it as well as the crowd at the event, stressing that the place was overcrowded.

“The place was overcrowded by dignitaries, their security and protocol officers, that is why the place craved in,” he said.

He however thanked God for minimising the havoc to injuries sustained by few personalities.

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