Nigeria on Saturday, at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, qualified for the FIFA 2018 World Cup courtesy a 73rd minute strike from Alex Iwobi.
A win watched by over 30,000 fans combined, inside and around the stadium. The victory as delightful, left a sour taste in the mouth of some fans who fell victim to stampedes.
The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in a bid to ensure vociferous support for the Eagles had tickets for the game subsidized to 500 and 1,000 Naira respectively.
As expected, the fans turned up in their numbers. Early as 13:00GMT they were already trickling into the stadium. In unity, the security agents aligned to ensure all went according to plan.
At the early stages, it seemed orderly as fans armed with their ticket queued for entrance. It became a problem more when both those who had and the many who didn’t have tickets felt they were being delayed unduly and had to begin a forced entrance.
The result? STAMPEDE.
As it is with such incidents, there were casualties. Many suffered various degree of injuries with the obvious a perforated head.
“There were indeed crowd disturbances, people got injured while trying to force their way through. But nobody died.” – Stadium Manager, John
No one deserves to get his head smacked with a baton or leg bruised for wanting to cheer his/her beloved Eagles. Sure, there isn’t one route for preventing crowd problems. Even in organized climes, where seats allocations are effective & organization is a norm ~ incidents still occur.
How to limit such occurrences should be priority for all involved just as performing well at the quadrennial event is for the team.
A reminder that the world governing body (FIFA) earlier slammed Nigeria with a fine of 30,000 Swiss Francs for their fans’ unruly behavior after the Super Eagles’ 4-0 win over Cameroon at the same stadium.