In a tragic twist to the opening of Akwa Ibom International Stadium Friday, a stampede which broke out at the venue's entrance is said to have left two persons suspected dead and at least 20 injured.
Said to have been driven by a frenzy to enter the venue for the Nigeria—Ghana friendly which took place today, the rush to enter the 30,000 capacity stadium, promised to be the biggest in West Africa, proved more than security operatives could control.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emem Bassey, said that two unconscious persons had to be taken to an undisclosed hospital. “Two persons have been taken to the hospital; these are perhaps people who were fighting at the gate in their bid to enter the stadium,” the commissioner said.
A third person rendered unconscious in the fray was revived by medical personnel at the stadium.
Reports also surfaced that security personnel at the venue resorted to using horse whips and tear gas to manage and control spectators.
While assuring the public that the incident was under control, Dr. Bassey stated that such chaos was expected for these situations. “It should be expected; this is the first time this is happening, everybody is excited, everybody wants to enter the stadium."
"We have 150 medical personnel in this place and eight ambulances. All our medical teams are up and doing and all the clinics are manned,” Bassey said.