Nassarawa Varsity Students Death: Investigate Allegation Of Criminal Negligence- Falana 

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Kemisola Oye

HUMAN rights activist and Chairman of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the Nassarawa State Police Command to investigate the allegations of criminal negligence which led to the unfortunate death of the two students of the Nassarawa State University, Keffi.  

The students died as a result of a stampede at the university’s convocation square last Friday morning. venue of the distribution of two 7.5 kg bags of rice and N5,000 to each student, an initiative of the state government. However, due to a lack of proper coordination of the exercise, there was a stampede of thousands of students at the venue. The stampede led to tragedy as many students were injured. 

However, as the university health centre was reportedly ill-equipped to treat the injured students, they were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi, Nassarawa State. As the injured students were not promptly attended to, two female students were pronounced dead while at least 17 others were left with varying degrees of injuries arising from suffocation at the venue of the distribution exercise.  

Meanwhile, the state government maintains that  the tragic incident occurred “when suspected hoodlums and some misguided students forced their way into the school’s convocation ground to cart away the rice kept at the venue meant for distribution as palliatives to students.” 

But the Vice-chancellor of the University, Prof Suleiman Bala decided to blame the tragedy on the victims of the official negligence. He was reported to have said that “our students were not patient enough to follow the process of accessing these palliatives.”

However, Mr Falana says it is unfortunate that the authorities of the university failed to draw any lesson from the recent stampede which claimed the lives of seven persons during the distribution of 25kg bags of rice in Lagos by the Nigeria Customs Service. 

No doubt, the tragedy would have been averted if the university management had distributed the 7 kg bags of rice to the students through their departments. 

“Indeed, there was no justification to have assembled thousands of students without a standby ambulance. As if that was not enough, the university health centre was not equipped to attend to the injured students. 

“Hence, they were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi where two female students were certified dead.”

Mr Falana opined that having regard to the facts and circumstances of the tragic incident, the Nassarawa State Police command should be directed to investigate the allegations of criminal negligence which led to the unfortunate death of the two students. 

“The culprits should be prosecuted without delay. In view of the official statement that hoodlums hijacked the distribution exercise the state government and the university management are required by law to compensate the bereaved families of the two students”, the senior lawyer insisted.  

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media 

 

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