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Sports News of Sunday, 10 May 2015

Source: David Cudjoe/XFM

Families of May 9th victims lament government neglect

The families who lost their loved ones in the horrific May 9th stadium disaster which occurred in 2001 has expressed their displeasure about lack of care from government as they mark this year's annual May 9th remembrance.

The tragedy which claimed over 120 lives after a league match between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko has left many families with nothing but grieve for the past years.

Mr. Herbert Mensah who was the C.E.O of Kumasi Asante Kotoko at the time of the disaster presented some cash and various items including some Gino products, Biscuits, Club minerals, Frutelli fruit juice and Kalyypo to the families to at a special ceremony at Nima in Accra.

Mr. Mensah was able to bring families of the victims in the Greater Accra Region and Ashanti Region together to share ideas and experiences.

The dependents still recounts the pain and anguish they have gone through and wants intervention from government .

According to the affected families present at the occasion, apart from an amount of about GHc 300.00 they received from government in 2001, there has never been any kind of support for the past fourteen years.

William Agyapong was a trader at Circle who passed away at the stadium. William's mother , Auntie Yaa Fuah lamented bitterly that the death of her son has caused her so much pain and she struggles to provide for the family.

William left a daughter who was five years old by then and seeing her through school has been a mountain to climb but for the kind gesture of Mr. Herbert Mensah who has catered for her family till now.

Maame Bissi who lost her husband in the disaster said she was seven months pregnant when the news was broken to her. According to her, "life has been difficult since the incident because the husband was the one providing for the family".

She couldn't thank Herbert enough for the support she has been receiving from him over the years.

Madam Rukaiya Ali Toloba, a sister of two victims also stressed her difficulty in providing for herself and the children belonging to her deceased brothers.

"I am left to cater for the children of my late brothers and it's very tough because we do not know who to contact for the money promised us but I am grateful to Mr. Herbert Mensah for his yearly support," Rukaiya added.

Some important personalities who were present at the occasion include Chief Seidu Hassan Fuseini, General Secretary of Zongo Council of Chiefs, Chief Ibrahim Bawa, Basaari of Greater Accra Region, Imam Alhaji Adam Abdul, the Imam of Nima community and J.Chester Anie, a renowned Legal expert and P.R. Consultant who has been a key figure in the organisation of the event.

In an interview, the General Secretary of the Zongo Council of Chiefs, Chief Seidu Hassan Fuseini expressed his disappointment with the government for neglecting children who were affected by the calamity.

He therefore pleaded with authorities to fulfill their promise to cater for the education of the affected ones.

Mr. Seidu also cautioned Ghanaians to be safety conscious to prevent any of such disasters adding that lessons must be learnt from the past.

He stated emphatically that the police and other security agencies should be more mindful of the manner they handle such conditions to prevent this kind of catastrophe.

"We Ghanaians have to be more conscious everywhere we go not just the stadium because this can happen anywhere and I'm also pleading with the police to be patient and conscious when dealing with such situation because they could have prevented this tragedy from happening," Seidu reiterated.