Scores of corps members were reported injured in a stampede on Friday, February 5, during a biometric capturing exercise for the payment of their monthly allowance.
Daily Trust reports that the incident occurred at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) FCT orientation camp, Kubwa, Abuja, as the large turnout of corps members overwhelmed the registration officials.
According to estimation gathered, over 7,000 corps members serving in the FCT had reported to the orientation camp, the only centre for the exercise in the FCT, as early as 3am to get numbers in order to be attended to early. The exercise is expected to last for five days.
One of the corpers, who pleaded anonymity, said she was surprised to see a large number of her colleagues the day she got to the camp as early as 6am, wondering whether some of them slept in the camp.
The lady, who was a victim of the stampede, said although she later succeeded in being attended to around 6pm, she sustained injuries on her legs while struggling to find her way through the crowd.
“How can they be using only three machines for not less than 7,000 corps members and expect that there will not be chaos? The number of casualties is high because of the crowd that turn out every day. Some even collapsed due to exhaustion,” she added.
The biometric exercise, which was introduced by the NYSC to checkmate cases of impersonation and other fraudulent activities during payment of monthly allowances, has been on for the last three months, with Abuja and Lagos as experimental states.
The stampede is coming two weeks after the NYSC declared that the participation in the national service and attendance of Law School at the same time “would not be acceptable”.