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Nasarawa varsity VC blames fatal rice stampede on students’ impatience

Prof. Suleiman Bala-Mohammed, Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, has attributed the Friday stampede that killed two students and left 14 others injured to impatience on the part of the students.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stampede occurred when the students, along with some hoodlums in the neighbourhood, swooped on bags of rice donated by the state government to mitigate the current economic hardship.
The consignment had been kept at the institution’s Convocation Square, with the governor expected to commence distribution Friday morning.
The governor was waiting when the mass of students and the hoodlums overpowered the security men at the gate, poured into the square, and started looting the bags of rice.
In the stampede, many were brought down and trampled upon, resulting in casualties.
Bala-Mohammed, while reacting to the incident, said that the students were not patient enough for the orderly sharing of the rice.
“The gesture of the state government was supposed to be a relief for the students given the hardships across the country; unfortunately, the students were not patient enough to follow the process of accessing the palliatives.
“There was a stampede. So many of the students got injured. Two students lost their lives.
“What happened has hurt our reputation and our image and created a bad name for us. We will not accept that. An investigation will take place, and hopefully, we will have all the facts and information.
“For now, our thoughts and prayers are with our two deceased students and their families, members of the university community, as well as those who were injured,” he said.
Bala-Mohammed, who called on other students to go about their academic activities, maintain peace, and follow regulations, warned that anything short of that would be an invitation to trouble.
“Let me be clear. The problem I anticipate is that if they go ahead and carry the law into their hands, we will shut down the university.
“So, we urge them to show restraint and continue with their academic activities; they should cooperate with the investigation panel that will be set up by the government and the university to investigate what happened.
“We need to unravel the truth and recommend appropriate actions,” he said.
Bala-Mohammed said that adequate security was provided, contrary to allegations that poor security arrangements were responsible for the chaos.
“As far as we are concerned, we had enough security on the ground. There was a team of military personnel on the ground. We also had a number of armed personnel from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps.
“Remember, also, that there were also men of our internal security system on the ground.
“So, the problem may not necessarily be security, but we don’t want to conclude anything until the investigation panel concludes its investigation,” he added.
NAN reports that Gov. Abdullahi Sule has recently offered some assistance to students of tertiary institutions in the state.
He had already visited the Federal University, Lafia, the College of Education, Akwanga, and the and the College of Agriculture, Lafia, among others, where he distributed 7.5 kg bags of rice and N5,000 cash to each student.
The governor was scheduled to extend the same gesture to students of the university on Friday, but before he arrived, some students went to loot the rice, which turned out to be a deadly venture. (NAN)
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