President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the tragic event that took the lives of several Nigerians at a football viewing centre in Calabar, Cross River on Thursday night.
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, Garba Shehu, Buhari prayed that God grants the souls of the departed eternal rest and comfort all who mourned their irreparable loss.
The incident took place at a viewing centre during the Europa Football League match between Manchester United and Anderlecht.
The incident happened at about 9.30pm at Nyagasang area of Atimbo in Calabar municipal local government area.
A survivor of the tragic incident told journalists that a transformer near the viewing centre located in the Iyang-Esu area exploded during the match and caused a high-tension cable to drop on the viewing centre.
Meanwhile, the state government has said it would foot the medical bills of hospitalised victims.
Ivara Esu, the deputy governor, announced the gesture when he visited some of the victims at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) on Friday.
He said that the dead were among 18 injured who were taken to the teaching hospital, adding that 10 of them were responding to treatment while one was in the intensive care unit.
He described the incident as “painful” but said that there had been misinformation about the casualty figure.
“From what I have been briefed by the hospital management, seven persons died here in UCTH. Some persons said that some of the victims were taken to private hospitals and native homes for treatment, but what we can confirm from UCTH is that seven persons died out of the tragedy,” he said.
“The government is going to take full responsibility for their treatment.”
The deputy governor said that the state would set up a commission of inquiry to ascertain the real cause of the problem.