18 die in stampede at immigration employment tests venues across Nigeria
About 18 job seekers died and many were injured on Saturday during a nationwide recruitment test conducted by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
The applicants reportedly paid the sum of N1,000 as application fee.
Millions of job seekers had thronged venues of the exercise, mostly stadia, for the exercise.
Seven were confirmed dead after a stampede at the National Stadium, Abuja, venue of the exercise in the Federal Capital Territory.
The 60,000-seater stadium was filled up.
Each candidate was required to wear a white T-shirt, boxer shorts, socks and tennis shoe for the exercise.
The candidates, our correspondent gathered, were tested in logical reasoning, English language and mathematics.
The applicants, mostly youths, had certificates ranging from master’s degree to bachelor’s degree, Higher National Diploma, National Certificate in Education, National Diploma and Senior Secondary School Leaving Certificate.
In niger state, Three job seekers, out of the 11,000 candidates who converged on the Women Day Secondary School Minna for the recruitment exercise died when security agencies fired tear-gas at anxious applicants.
Immigration personnels were overwhelmed by the crowd that lined up to two kilometers from the venue of the examination.
Meanwhile, at the Minna General Hospital, where the victims were taken to, one of the victims, apart from the dead, was in critical condition.
When contacted, the Comptroller of Immigration Service, Niger State Command, Ezekiel Kaura confirmed, that 11,000 candidates sat for the recruitment examination in Minna centre and that five candidates collapsed as a result of the stampede.
In rivers state,, at least, five persons, including a pregnant woman, lost their lives during a stampede at the Port Harcourt Liberation Stadium venue of the recruitment exercise.
Also, many of the applicants sustained injuries.
About 35,000 job seekers, clad in white T-shirts and shoes, had stormed the stadium at about 7am on Saturday for the physical and written NIS tests.
One of the applicants, who gave her name as Blessing, said a pregnant woman, who was injured, later died in the hospital.
She said, “Five persons died. One of them, a pregnant woman, jumped the fence and hit her stomach on the ground. She was taken to the hospital. When we started leaving, we learnt that the woman had died.
“The other gates were locked and everybody struggled through the only available gate. Not everybody took the examination because there was no space; there was no space for those with HND and O’level. There was space for those with B.Sc.”
The Public Relations Officer, NIS, Rivers State Command, Mr. Abang Bisong, said the stampede was caused by the unexpected number of applicants that turned out for the exercise.
Bisong explained that while the NIS was expecting 20,000 applicants, about 35,000 job seekers, which was beyond the capacity of the stadium, showed up for the fitness and written tests.
Similarly, they were reports that three pregnant women died at the exam venue in Edo State.
In Lagos, the exercise was conducted at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where applicants expressed concern over the poor conduct of the exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that thousands of applicants had besieged the venue as early as 7am.
Some nursing mothers, pregnant women and persons with disabilities also came for the recruitment exercise.
An applicant, Miss Dolapo Akinkunmi, who said she had been unemployed for over five years, said, “I got the message on Wednesday that the examination would hold on Saturday. My doctor refused to discharge me, but I had to beg him because I need the job desperately.
“This is already noon and we have not started. I have to go back to the hospital now before I die here because I cannot stand the crowd and the heat of the sun,” she said.
Meanwhile the minister of interior MR ABBA MORO said “The applicants lost their lives due to impatience; they did not follow the laid down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise. Many of them jumped through the fences of affected centres and did not conduct themselves in an orderly manner to make the exercise a smooth one. This caused stampede and made the environment unsecured.”
He stated that the Deputy Comptroller, Immigration Operations and Passport, told him that he cancelled the exercise in Lagos due to the unruly behaviour of applicants.