Friday, 21 April 2017

Manchester United, Buhari, Ben Ayade mourns victims of Calabar viewing centre tragedy

The English Premier League giants, Manchester United have sent their condolences to the families of football fans who died while watching Thursday night’s UEFA Europa League quarter final match between Man.United and Anderlecht in Calabar, Nigeria.

Recall that no fewer than 30 persons lost their lives after an electric pole fell on the roof of the viewing centre where they were watching the match at at Nyagasang area of Atimbo in Calabar.

Manchester United wrote on their official twitter handle on Friday, “Our thoughts go out to the United fans, their friends and families affected by the tragedy in Calabar, Nigeria, yesterday.

President Buhari has also expressed sadness over the tragic event.

The President on Friday in Abuja commiserated with the government and people of Cross River and football fans nationwide over the unfortunate incident.

He commended the government for the prompt action in setting up a commission of inquiry into the incident, and for its offer of assistance to the victims and their families.

“I offer my 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, ’’ he said.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari prayed that God grants the souls of the departed eternal rest and comfort all who mourned their irreparable loss.

Cross River state governor, Ben Ayade has described the incident as tragic and horrifying.

The governor said this in a statement issued by Christian Ita, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press Secretary in Calabar on Friday.

Ayade also said it was heart wrenching that the lives of the young men were lost through electrocution.

“The incident marks a dark chapter in the life of the state where the precious lives of football lovers have been lost.

“At this point in time, it is sad to know that the victims lost their lives at a viewing centre where they usually converge, at their leisure time to watch their matches’’, Ayade said.

While commiserating with the families of the victims of the tragedy, the governor promised that the state government would look into the likely cause of the incident to preventing reoccurrence. 

A survivor of the tragic incident told newsmen that a transformer near the viewing exploded during the match and caused a high-tension cable to drop on the viewing centre.

In Nigeria fans always gather at viewing centers to watch football matches for a fee, as most either cannot afford the high cable television subscription fees or prefer to watch with other fans.

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