President Muhammadu Buhari says since 1978 when he was named the minister of petroleum till date, he has not lost interest in the oil sector.

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the tragic death of some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a stampede at the presidential campaign rally in Port Harcourt, Rivers, on Tuesday.

Sahara Reporters reported that four people died in the stampede. Many others were injured.

The presidency did not, however, quote any casualty figure.

In a statement issued by a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari extended deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

He also wished a speedy recovery to all those injured.

The president described the deaths as “needless loss of lives and an anti-climax to a highly successful outing” in the oil city that could have been averted if there was an orderly exit from the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.

“It is indeed a great tragedy that Nigerians who have important roles to play in shaping the future of the country and had come to see and hear from us how hard their government is working to build a Nigeria of their dreams, would meet their end in this unfortunate circumstance.

“I assure the people, with all sense of responsibility, that the party and the government will do everything possible to ensure the well-being and safety of our citizens as they troop out to attend rallies and all other political events,” he said.

President Buhari assured the government and the people of Rivers State as well as the affected families of the support and prayers of the federal government during this difficult time.

The Port Harcourt deaths occurred about a week after eight people died at another APC presidential rally in Taraba State. The presidency blamed the Taraba deaths on overcrowding.

The deaths raise concerns about crowd management at political rallies as Nigeria gets ready for general elections.

The presidential and federal parliamentary elections will hold on February 16. State elections will hold on March 2.

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