Some guests that attended the wedding between President Goodluck Jonathan’s foster daughter, Inebharapu and her husband, Simeon, on Saturday got more than they bargained for when security agents, who had difficulties controlling the surging crowd, resorted to the use of teargas.
Inebharapu is a daughter of the President’s cousin.
Among the crowd that attended the wedding were a large number of women, who were conveyed to the venue in their hundreds in long buses belonging to the Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company.
Policemen, soldiers and officials of the Department of State Security made frantic efforts to push back some guests at the main gate. When the situation became too rowdy, they used tear gas to disperse the agitated guests.
While scampering to safety, many people sustained various degrees of injury.
A pregnant woman simply identified by her relatives as Oby went into coma and was quickly rushed into an ambulance belonging to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
When she could not be stabilised after about 15 minutes, she was driven in an ambulance marked CD 53 A to a hospital.
Good Samaritans helped to resuscitate many other people by pouring water on them.
Meanwhile, a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, made a surprise appearance at the church wedding.
Obasanjo and Jonathan have not been seen together in public events lately, especially since the public presentation of his book, My Watch, which is critical of the President.
The former President had on Monday said Nigeria was facing economic problems due to the failure of the present administration to plan for the rainy day.
He told women leaders from the South-West, who visited him at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, that the nation’s reserves which as of 2007 stood at $67bn had been depleted by the Federal Government.
Obasanjo arrived the venue in company with Dr. Andy Uba and some other aides before the commencement of the service.
His arrival attracted a loud ovation from those who were already seated, especially women.
He was ushered into the hall and took his seat at the VIP section.
He was later joined at the section by the President of the Senate, David Mark, and his wife.
About 20 minutes after, Jonathan entered the hall with his wife, Patience, and the bride.
The President and his wife took turns to exchange pleasantries with Obasanjo, Mark and other dignitaries before taking their seats.
Obasanjo’s introduction during the service also attracted a loud applause from the congregation.
In his vote of thanks at the service, Jonathan specially recognised Obasanjo’s presence, saying, “Let me appreciate our father, President Olusegun Obasanjo, for being here with us. Thank you for coming.”
The President urged the couple to embrace the virtue of endurance, saying they should learn to resolve their disagreements in their bedroom.
He urged them not to bring their problems to him because he has more than enough issues to address.
In his sermon, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, noted that although marriage as an institution was ordained by God, it had been marked by problems from the beginning.
Okoh urged the couple to keep the vow they made before God in order to attract divine blessings.
While describing jealousy as positive in marriage, the clergyman said it was a defensive mechanism God placed in marriage to preserve it.
He stressed the need for forgiveness in relationships, warning the couple against keeping a diary of offences for each other.
He urged them to allow the love of God to rule their home, instead of money.
“Money must not rule your marriage. Allow the love of God to rule your home. Let God have the final say, not money. Your marriage should be based on scriptures and not your certificates which are just gifts from God,” he said.
The clergyman also frowned at same-sex marriage which he described as sinful, artificial and shameful.
He said God instituted the marriage.
He added, “We must obey and adopt the original marriage if we want to continue in the presence of God. There must be Adam and Eve, anything else is an aberration.
“We encourage young people to reject the new introduction of young men marrying men or women marrying women.
“Marriage was ordained for fellowship, friendship and companionship. You must be best of friends, companion and fellowship together.”
Other dignitaries who attended the service included the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; Governor Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom; Governor Jonah Jang (Plateau); Governor Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa); Governor Liyel Imoke (Cross River; Governor Gabriel Suswam )Benue); former Governor Peter Odili; and Chief Edwin Clark.