*Jonathan inaugurates facility, 2 other presidents in attendance
Two persons were feared dead and 20 others injured in a stampede at the entrance of Akwa Ibom International Stadium on Friday during its inauguration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that crowd control was a difficult task in spite of the road blocks mounted some kilometres away from the stadium.
Although the spectators got tickets to enable them access the 30, 000 capacity stadium, the crowd started thronging the stadium about five hours ahead of the scheduled time for the match.
Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Emem Bassey, told NAN that two unconscious persons were taken to an undisclosed hospital.
“I was told that two persons have been taken to the hospital; these are perhaps people who were fighting at the gate in their bid to enter the stadium,” Bassey said.
He said that the third unconscious person, a woman, was revived in the stadium and had started talking.
“It should be expected; this is the first time this is happening, everybody is excited, everybody wants to enter the stadium.
“We have 150 medical personnel in this place and eight ambulances. All our medical teams are up and doing and all the clinics are manned,” Bassey said.
NAN reports that the security operatives at some check points were using horse whips and tear-gas to control the crowd.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday inaugurated the 30,000 capacity Uyo International Stadium built by the Akwa Ibom Government.
Jonathan was accompanied to the event by Presidents John Mahama and Alassane Quattara of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire respectively.
Jonathan said he was delighted to lay the foundation stone of the project and inaugurated it on completion.
He said the inauguration was a source of pride for the state and the nation.
“We are very happy to join you in the celebration of this great achievement; Akwa Ibom is a great state.
“What we have seen today has shown hard work, great vision and amazing transformation.
“This is a reminder that leadership of PDP is paying attention to the aspiration of the electorate of this great country and this great state”, Jonathan said.
He commended Gov. Godswill Akpabio for the enormous infrastructure development in the state.
In his remark, Quattara said the stadium would not only be the nesting ground for future Nigerian champions but indeed for West African and African champions.
“May we see great sports men and women emerging from this stadium, may this stadium be a blessing for the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigeria’’, he said.
He said the edifice was one of the best on the continent, adding that Africans were impressed with the achievement in Akwa Ibom and Nigeria.
“I wish to congratulate Governor Akpabio and President Goodluck Jonathan for their achievements.
He also congratulated Nigeria and Senegal for their curtailment of Ebola disease, adding that it showed that Nigeria can achieve if they worked together.
Earlier, Gov. Akpabio of Akwa Ibom said the new Akwa Ibom Stadium would produce great champions in the future.
He stressed that investment in sports facilities was worthwhile.