A yet unknown number of members of the Kwara state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, died on Wednesday night as they scrambled for handouts distributed by former Governor of the state, Bukola Saraki.
A source said no fewer than a dozen people were feared dead.
Several others were injured in the incident which occurred at a venue popularly called PDP Charity House, which is near Mr. Saraki’s Ilorin residence.
Tragedy struck as indigent party members tried to outsmart one another as Mr. Saraki and other philanthropists distributed the yearly sallah gifts.
The dead and the injured were packed into ambulances and rushed to nearby hospitals.
In a statement emailed to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday night, the Publicity Secretary of Kwara PDP, Mas’ud Adebimpe, confirmed the incident and commiserated with the families of the victims.
He, however, confirmed the death of only four PDP members , with many others injured.
Mr. Adebimpe said, “The Peoples Democratic Party Kwara State chapter held its annual Sallah celebration at PDP Charity House where many party faithful were in attendance.
“The event which is an annual activity of the party went on smoothly until the unfortunate incident of a stampede, which led to some people fainting. They were immediately rushed to a hospital few blocks away from the venue.
“While some are currently responding positively to treatment, we however regret to announce that we lost four of our party members to the unfortunate development.
“Our prayers go out to the families of the deceased and we pray for the quick recovery of those that are responding fast to treatment.”
The yearly sallah gifts distribution by the Sarakis and the party have of late led to multiple deaths.
On May 27, 2011, several people died at the Mandate House, Ilorin, as they scrambled for rice and other items.
At least 11 others died in a similar fashion in November 2010, but only four deaths were also confirmed by the Kwara government at the time.