Nasarawa varsity students die in stampede over palliative

NO fewer than two students of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, died in a vicious struggle for a palliative at the university’s convocation square on Friday, March 22.

The ICIR learnt that the incident, which also caused injuries of varying degrees to about ten students, was initially intended to be flagged off by the state governor, Abdullahi Sule.

However, the situation took another turn when some students overpowered the security operatives at the entrance of the convocation square, where the distribution was meant to take place.

The palliative was said to be two bags of 7.5kg rice per student.

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Sule had recently announced the distribution of two 7.5 kg bags of rice and N5,000 to students in state tertiary institutions

While acknowledging the programme’s success in the state, the governor said the palliative distribution would continue, especially with students of tertiary institutions as target beneficiaries.

He said there was an urgent need to extend the gesture to the students as the prevailing hardship affected every segment of society.

He added that the gesture would reduce the burden on the parents battling to pay their children’s school fees in the face of the prevailing economic downturns facing the nation and homes.

However, during the flag-off of the palliative programme at the state university, sources disclosed that two students had been confirmed dead as a result of the stampede. 

The source also shared a picture of the two deceased female students with The ICIR.

“Two students have died, but we don’t have the exact number of students that are injured yet, but they are about ten or thereabouts…Some of the injured are in the school clinic, but those in critical condition were taken to FMC,” the source said.

Giving more details into the circumstance, the source, who is also a student at the institution, said: “Actually, they were about to distribute the palliative this morning and to do flag off when the governor comes, but the students came and overpowered the security because they were many. They broke the door and forced themselves in. Some were stepped on, so they kept falling on one another. And that’s what caused the death. 

The ICIR tried to confirm the details of the incident with the students’ union, but calls and messages sent to the union’s president, Yunusa Baduku, were not picked up or replied to.



    Meanwhile, confirming the incident with Punch newspaper, Baduku said that most of the students involved in the stampede had been rushed to hospitals in the area for medical attention.

    He said, “Seriously, what happened this morning at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, is uncalled for and very pathetic.

    “After our arrangement for the distribution of palliatives to the students, which was to be held at the University’s convocation square, they (students) suddenly arrived at the venue in their numbers and overpowered the security. “They broke through the gate into the convocation square where the bags of rice were to be shared.

    “Unfortunately, most of our female students sustained several degrees of injuries, while others got suffocated because of the population at the venue for the distribution of the palliative,” the students leader said.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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