Posted by News Express | 14 September 2014 | 3,503 times
Jummai Babangida Aliyu, wife of the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, was among the 25 people injured when the VIP stand collapsed in the state capital Minna yesterday during the North Central rally organized by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) to garner support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid.
Mrs. Aliyu was “helped out of the wreckage by her aides and was in visible pains as she was evacuated from the scene,” according to a story in Sunday Trust.
However, her husband, seeing the pandemonium that followed, quickly took to the microphone to appeal to people to stay and see the incident as a sign of good things to come.
He asked the people to see the incident as “a sacrifice for success”.
The incident occurred at about 11:53 am at the Minna Trade Fair ground venue of the rally shortly after the organising secretary had finished his speech, and just about the time the second speaker was making his way to the podium.
As reported by Sunday Trust, three pavilions were hastily constructed for the event and even at the time of the rally, construction workers were seen underneath the structure trying to put finishing touches and were lucky to have escaped the structure collapsing on their heads.
Dignitaries including Governor Aliyu, SGF Senator Pius Ayim, Minister of Water Resource, Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of State FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide Minister of State of Agriculture, Asabe Ahmed, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, Deputy Governors of Sokoto, Benue and Kogi escaped unhurt.
However the senator representing the FCT, Mr. Timothy Aduda, said the incident would not deter them from their objectives.
“Whatever happened here, the devil is a liar. No weapon fashioned against us and Jonathan shall succeed. What happened was because the crowd was too much,” he was quoted as saying.
A check at Minna General Hospital indicated that most of the victims that were rushed there for treatment had already been discharged.
The governor alongside his wife later visited the hospital where a total of 24 people were treated and assured them that the government will foot the bill for their treatment.
The names of the victims have not been made available but one of them, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State was treated and discharged in time to rejoin the rally.
There are reports that other victims have been moved to Abuja for further treatment.
However, organisers of the rally, TAN, through its Director of Communications, Dr. Udenta O. Udenta, described the incident as very unfortunate but noted that it did not diminish the occasion as the rally went ahead as planned.
The association expressed appreciation to the governors and other prominent personalities in the North Central Region for their support.
•Photo, courtesy of Sunday Trust, shows the collapsed VIP stand at the TAN pro-Jonathan rally in Minna.
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