Atleast 31 people were killed and seven others were left injured after a stampede broke out at a church event in the southeastern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt on Saturday, CNN reported citing police and security officials.
Hundreds of people who had turned up to receive food at the church early on Saturday broke through a gate, causing the stampede. Most of the casualties were children.
The tragic incident took place at a local polo club, where the nearby Kings Assembly Church had organized a gift donation drive, according to Olufemi Ayodele, a regional spokesman for Nigeria's Civil Defense Corps.
"During the process of distributing the gift items, there was a stampede due to overcrowding," he said. "Casualties were children mostly," CNN qouted him as saying.
Quoting a spokeswoman for the state police, Grace Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko, CNN reported that the drive had not even started when the stampede took place.
Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko said the crowd forced their way into the venue, despite the fact that the gate was closed, resulting in the mishap.
"Thirty-one people have been confirmed dead, Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko said. Seven injured people were hospitalized after the incident," she added.