Hundreds of people who had turned up to receive food at the event early on Saturday broke through a gate, causing the stampede, Grace Iringe-Koko, police spokesperson for Rivers state, of which Port Harcourt is the capital, said.
The stampede at the program organized by the Kings Assembly pentecostal church in Rivers state involved many people who were seeking assistance, according to Grace Iringe-Koko, a police spokeswoman in the state.
Many of the victims came to benefit from an annual “Shop for Free” charity programme organised by the church. Such events are common in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, where more than 80 million people live in poverty, according to government statistics.
At least 31 people have been killed after a stampede broke out in south Nigeria during a church charity event where food was being distributed.
Local Nigerian media reported the event organised by the King's Assembly church was offering food and gifts for the poor at a sports field on Saturday.
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