16th March, 2014
Sixteen persons were confirmed to have died during the nationwide job recruitment test organised by the Nigeria Immigration Service on Saturday.
Mr Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior gave the confirmation during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
Moro said that in Edo state one female applicant collapsed at the venue of the exercise and was rushed to the hospital where she died.
He said that in Jigawa state a male applicant died in an accident on his way to the venue of the exercise while in Niger two persons died as a result of the stampede.
He said that seven applicants in the FCT died also from the stampede while in Rivers five persons died.
Some applicants sustained injuries during the exercise with some have being treated and discharged while others are currently receiving treatment in various hospitals across the country.
As at the time of filing this report, the bodies of some of the participants who lost their lives have been identified by their families at the National Hospital in Abuja.
Mr Mohammed Yekini, brother to one of the deceased, told NAN that he was still waiting for the authorities of the hospital to release the corpse.
Yekini, who is also a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic in Nassarawa state and hails from Okene in Kogi state, lamented the inhuman treatment participants were subjected to during the exercise.
He called on government to show more consideration to the plight of unemployed youths in the country.
He said that the deceased was married with a child.
Another participant of the exercise, Mrs Abigail Aroniya, whose brother is presently receiving treatment at the National Hospital, described the treatment they received during the exercise as inhuman.
Abigail said that most participants arrived the venue at the time slated for the exercise but the gate to the stadium was locked and officials of the immigration service were not there.
She said that when the officials finally arrived everyone tried to struggle into the venue and in the process some persons were pushed down and trampled upon.
Meanwhile, Moro has visited the victims of the stampede, who are currently receiving treatment at the National Hospital in Abuja.
While some victims have been treated and released from the hospital about 11 are still on admission.
Moro confirmed that the victims who have been released had sufficiently recovered and were in stable condition.
“Some family members of victims have also showed up here and we have interacted with them.
“I promised that the ministry and the service will do everything possible to ameliorate the consequences of what happened yesterday,” he said.
He said the primary focus of the ministry was to show support in any way possible to the victims still in hospitals and families of those that died.
Moro said that it was premature to talk about the employment for the victims for the moment as families were in mourning.
He said that every step required of the ministry and the service to conduct a hitch free exercise was done.
“I gave you the assurance that this exercise would be cost effective, transparent and would avoid the mistake of the past where all the candidates converged in Abuja and we had stampede and deaths.
“We tried to decentralise the exam this time and posted senior officers of the immigration, NSCDC and the police to various centres,” he said.
Moro said that over 526,650 persons nationwide applied for the recruitment and the security personnel deployed were adequate based on the number.
He said that the FCT Commissioner of Police would be at the National Hospital to ensure early release of the corpses to family members.
“We have undertaken to provide ambulance to assist the family convey the corpses; we have also asked that records of persons who are coming to claim this corpse be recorded.
“This is to enable us reach them. Those who are in the hospital we will monitor them judiciously and see what we can do to ameliorate their situation” the minister said