By Jonathan Ugbal
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has said he is shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic event that took the lives of 7 people at a football viewing center in Nyanghasang, Calabar Municipal local government area of southern Cross River State on Thursday night.
Buhari in a statement signed by his Senor Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu commiserated with the government and people of Cross River State, and football fans nationwide over the unfortunate incident.
“President Buhari commends the State Government for the prompt action in setting up a commission of inquiry into the incident, and its offer of assistance to the victims and their families.
“The President offers his deepest condolences to the family and friends of the mostly young victims, whose sudden demise is a big blow not only to their families, but also to the football-loving nation,” the statement read.
In a similar vein, the President of the Nigerian Senate in the 6th and 7th Assembly, Senator David Mark said the incident is tragic and unfortunate.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, Senator Mark said that it is a huge loss to the nation. It is more tragic because these were promising Nigerians who looked forward to a rewarding future.
“They represented the future dreams of our father land. They were the ready hands on which our future lies. But we are incapable of questioning the will of the Almighty. May God grant them eternal rest”.
He suggested that the public utility providers should take precautionary measures to avoid future re-occurrence.
In spite of the tragedy, Senator Mark believes that Soccer is a unifying tool between and among Nigerians that must of a necessity be promoted and encouraged in our society the statement said.
Also, the Chairman, Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on communications, Clara Braide said that: “I am sad and heartbroken at the way and manner the young and promising lives of the young men were lost through electrocution.”
He continued: “I am deeply saddened at the loss of these promising lives at a time our nation and indeed the state is set to tap into the vast potentials of our vibrant young men and women for the greater good of our society. The incident is, indeed, a very sad development and dark chapter in the life of the state and the community where this incident occurred.
“It is sad that the youngsters met their unfortunate deaths while engaged in a healthy innocent past time,” he said and urged relevant authorities to look into the likely cause of the incindence towards forestalling any future re-ocurrence.
Similarly, the National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, South – South Prince Hilliard Etta prayed God to give the families of the departed, the fortitude to bear their loss.
A statement signed by his media aide, Bassey Ita said Hilliard “deeply mourns the horrific death of victims of the Nyaghasang electrocution yesterday. He has equally prayed God to give their families the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss while wishing the demise peaceful repose in the Lord’s bosom.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, John Inaku who condoled with the families of the deceased after visiting the scene expressed worry that despite consistent campaigns by the Agency against indiscriminate erection of structures without the approval of relevant authorities, some unscrupulous persons continue to perpetrate the detestable and dangerous act.
He said that it was illegal for buildings particularly residential and business structures to be sited along high tension wires to avoid unsavory consequences.
He also warned against the building houses or any structure along oil and gas pipe lines stating that relevant authorities would apprehend and bring such culprits to book.
In a related development, Cross River Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu who visited the scene and later the victims in the hospital told journalists that the state government will foot the medical bills.
Esu confirmed that 7 people have died with one still in critical condition.