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Varsity Food Stampede Leaves Two Students Dead, 23 Injured

Varsity Food Stampede Leaves Two Students Dead, 23 Injured

At least two students died and 23 were hurt in a tragic varsity food stampede in central Nigeria on Friday as a huge crowd gathered for food handouts.

Thousands of students at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, surged and broke through gates where the state government was distributing bags of rice.

Nigeria has been grappling with soaring food prices since the government withdrew a petrol subsidy and floated the naira currency in a bid to shore up the economy.

Inflation has reached a three-decade high of 31.7 percent. This has made basic items inaccessible for many Nigerians, most of whom live on less than $2 a day.

“There was a food stampede this morning at the rice distribution point within the university where the state governor was to distribute 4,000 bags of rice to students,” university spokesman Abraham Habu told AFP by phone.

Two female students died in the stampede while 23 others were taken to hospital with injuries but in a stable condition,” Habu said.

Desperate people had gathered from around 2 am (0100 GMT) waiting for the distribution to students and the disabled. This was to begin around 10 am, Habu said. By 9 am, the crowd had “surpassed 4,000 and become uncontrollable,” he said. This ultimately caused a food stamped at the campus.

People pushed their way into the fenced zone and began taking away rice in a “chaotic manner”. This forced soldiers guarding the area to withdraw, Habu said.

“The state government has set up a committee to investigate,” he added.

In the worst economic crisis in a generation, many poor Nigerians have had to skip meals. They have also given up products such as meat, eggs, and milk.

Earlier this month, Nigeria’s emergency agency said security had been tightened at its warehouses. This is after hundreds of people looted a food store in the capital Abuja.

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