One person was feared dead yesterday in a stampede at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), during the screening of fresh students.
It was gathered that scores of students also sustained serious degrees of injury in the stampede.
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Witnesses told reporters that the stampede occurred when the students were attempting to force their way into the premises of the hall where the screening exercise was taking place and UNIBEN security personnel forcefully closed the gate against them, forcing the surging students to fall, following which hundreds of them marched on those on the ground.
When reporters visited the institution yesterday, thousands of applicants who besieged the Akin Deko auditorium, venue of the screening, were still at the two gates leading to the hall.
It was observed that the iron barricade of the western gate was twisted, broken and almost to the ground, even as students still held on to it as they tried to make their way into the hall.
One of the applicants who gave her name simply as Osas for fear of been victimised, described the incident as “horrible and hellish.”
“It was a terrible thing and so serious. It began when the students were attempting to enter the hall and the security men said no. It was then that some of the students attempted to force their way into the place and the security men forcefully closed the gates on them. That is how hundreds of them fell, some this side and others that side.
“Those who got up marched on those still on the ground to get out of the confusion. 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.
When contacted for comment on the incident the university’s public relations officer, Harrison Osarenren, denied that there was stampede, adding that the screening was going on peacefully. (Leadership)