A few weeks after at least 19 people died in stampedes in stadia across the country during a recruitment exercise into Nigerian Immigrations Service; there was another heavy stampede Wednesday morning at the University Of Benin (UNIBEN), during screening of fresh students.
It was gathered that scores of students sustained injuries in the stampede, just as one of them was said to have died. However, there was no official confirmation about whether someone died.
Eye witnesses said the stampede occurred when the students were attempting to force their way into the hall where the screening exercise was taking place, and UNIBEN security personnel closed the gate against them, forcing the surging students to fall, and hundreds of them stepping on those on the ground.
When P.M.NEWS visited the university Wednesday morning, it was observed that thousands of the applicants who besieged the Akin Deko auditorium-venue of the screening were still at the two gates leading to the premises.
It was observed that the iron barricade of the western gate was broken and students still held on to it as they tried to force their way into the hall. One of the applicants, who gave her name simply as Osas, described what happened as “horrible and hellish.”
“It was a terrible thing and so serious. It began when the students were attempting to enter into the hall and the security men disallowed them. It was then that some of the students attempted to force their way into the place and the security men forcefully closed the gates against them. That was how hundreds of them fell. Those who got up stepped on those still on the ground. Several people who were injured were rushed to the hospital, but I am not sure anyone died, though many of them were seriously injured,” Osas said. Efforts to reach the University’s Public Relations Officer, Barr. Harrison Osarenren, for comments were unsuccessful as calls made to his mobile phone failed to connect as it was said to be switched off.