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KonkNaija Media | May 2, 2016

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FG Orders Probe of 19 Immigration Applicants’ Death

FG Orders Probe of 19 Immigration Applicants’ Death

| On 18, Mar 2014

Heads may roll at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), after Aso Rock on Sunday directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammed Abubakar, to investigate both the remote and immediate causes of the stampede that claimed some 19 lives at the various centers of Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment test across the country.

Speaking in a telephone interview, a top Police  officer attached to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja, confirmed the directive  in a telephone chat from Abuja on Sunday. This is just as the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Frank Mbah, claimed ignorance of such directive. But admitted that, since there was death, there would have to be investigation.

The source said that government wants Police detectives to find out why the stampede occurred in the first place. “And if it would have been prevented in the first place. We are also expected to find out how many vacancies actually existed in the NIS, if they have been filled or not. We would also find out why Police was not contacted for crowd control by NIS given the number of applicants invited for the test,”

Check by our correspondent revealed that NIS only has vacancies for 5,000 applicants. It was also gathered that out of this number, special preferences have been given to relations of top politicians, legislators and even some senior NIS officials.

The Police source added that the recruitment test was just for less than 3,000 across the country.

It would be recalled that stampede involving some 90, 000 applicants for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) job, on Saturday, killed, at least, 19 people and injured many others in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Edo, Minna and Kano.

The applicants were struggling to gain access into the stadia, the recruitment test venues of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). Three, including a pregnant woman, died in Kano, while the stampede also claimed three in Minna.

About 65,000 (well over the stadium’s sitting capacity of 60,000) job seekers fought to enter the National Stadium Abuja venue of the aptitude test in the ensuing surge, many of them were trampled underfoot and some of them died as confirmed by the National Hospital. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said it recovered seven bodies and hospitalized 40 in Abuja, even as another stampede at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium venue for the recruitment exercise in Benin Zone claimed two victims. There were conflicting reports about actual number of deaths at the Benin stadium. An online report, for instance, claimed that 20, including a pregnant woman, died in the stampede.

The Abuja stadium has more than 30 entrances, most of which were locked at the time the candidates were being expected to come for the screening and test, scheduled to start by 7.00 am.

Some of the candidates, who were there earlier than could not gain entry to the venue. Even when two of the stadium gates were opened, it could not contain the surging crowd of desperate job seekers.

Although the Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Mr. Chukwuemeka Obua, could not be reached (as calls placed to his phone went on “forwarding” and alternate telephone number switched off), sources at the headquarters said the number of persons they saw at the stadium overwhelmed the officials that were sent to conduct the test.

“The number of applicants is massive. We knew that it would be like this; that was why the stadium, like in all parts of the country, was selected to host the large number in the belief that it could contain them. Unfortunately, we were overwhelmed; we could not even control the crowd.

“So the unfortunate incidence occurred basically because of the rush, some of the candidates, if not all of them, wanted to be inside the stadium first, so as to finish early; and some of the entrances were also locked. As a result, the incidence could not be averted,” an NIS source said.

Meanwhile, at the National Hospital, where some of the injured were taken, the actual number could not be confirmed, as some of them were taken to other government hospitals in Garki and Maitama.