- Some Nigerians have lost their lives in a stampede that occurred in Niger Republic
- The deceased were among those who fled their homes over the insurgency in Nigeria
- The incident was said to have happened after Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state left the place
A report by Premium Times indicates that at least 23 people have been allegedly killed in a stampede that occurred as officials of the Borno state government distributed food items to Nigerian refugees living in Niger Republic.
Legit.ng gathered that governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum, on Sunday, February 16, travelled to Diffa, a border community in Niger Republic, where he met over 120,000 Nigerians who fled their homes some years ago.
According to the report, the 120,000 are among the millions of Nigerians who were displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
It was learnt that the majority of the displaced victims reside in other communities and displaced persons camps within Nigeria, adding that hundreds of thousands of others fled to neighbouring countries like Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Government sources according to the online medium, said that the stampede happened hours after the governor left Niger Republic for Maiduguri.
Zulum had on Sunday, February 16, supervised the distribution of the food items to about 30,000 refugees before he left with an instruction that the state emergency agencies should continue to distribute the materials.
It was also gathered that the stampede happened on the morning of Monday, February 17, as refugees began to protest the delay in the continuation of the food distribution at the two distribution sites called the MJC Boys and Girls Club in Diffa province.
A Borno official who witnessed the incident said Nigeriens living around the camp stormed the place with the hope of getting some food even though they were not meant to benefit.
“The distribution supervised by Governor Zulum on Sunday was successfully carried out as the entire 30,000 that received the meal token, all got their food and clothing. After the governor had left, the official continued the distribution at a venue called Gidan Wasa, where over 6000 refugees received their shares.
“But things went out of control the second day when some local Nigeriens got wind of the distribution exercise continuing on Monday. They rushed down to join the Nigerian refugees at the distribution locations; and in attempts to be the first to get the relief items, a serious stampede ensued,” the source was reported to have said.
The source said of the 23 persons that died, 19 were Nigeriens, while four were Nigerians, saying that most of those that died were aged women and children.
The medium added that when contacted, the spokesman of the Borno state governor, Isa Gusau, confirmed the development.
He said the government would not be making any official comment on the matter now, “until the governor receives a detail report” of what transpired from the committee handling the distribution of the items to the refugees.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Nigeria's minister of communication and digital economy, Isa Ibrahim Pantami, reacted to the threat to his life by a factional leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.
It was reported that the terrorists' leader had in a recent video threatened President Muhammadu Buhari for visiting Maiduguri, Borno state, following the Boko Haram attack that claimed many lives.
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