Survivors of the stampede at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Tuesday said they were lucky not to have found themselves in the hospital after fans overpowered security operatives at one of the gates and gained entrance into the premises to watch the Nigeria versus Ghana Qatar 2022 second leg World Cup play-off.
Hundreds of fans were injured in the process, while a state football association chairman suffered some degrees of bruises during the tragic incident.
Speaking on how he survived the stampede, Ojo Mustapha, a businessman in the Garki area of Abuja, told our correspondent that he was only lucky to be alive as he was in the middle of the stampede.
“I knew this was going to happen with the number of fans outside the stadium and with the game about to start in less than two hours. Walking from gate to gate, I could see there were over 20,000 people outside anxious to gain entrance,” Mustapha said
“I will blame the overzealous security men at the stadium for the stampede at the gate. We were told the gates would open from 2pm but for almost two hours after, we couldn’t gain access into the stadium.
“The policemen had been opening the gate for just a few people to enter, so, we forced our way in. Majority of the fans in front fell to the ground and those of us behind ran into them. I also fell and was trampled upon but luckily I wasn’t injured, though one of the fans stepped on my hands, but I’m fine. It could have been avoided if the security personnel had communicated well between themselves.”
Another survivor Fuad Nasir narrated the traumatic experience.
He stated, “I thought I had broken a bone when I was stepped on but after walking for a while and stretching the leg, I noticed that it was better, but my knees are bruised. I can only thank God that it was just bruises. I saw some people with serious injuries and I won’t be surprised if others are in the hospital because the rush was just too much.
“The saddest part was that the police still took some of the fans and wanted to send them out of the stadium.”