Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Immigration Recruitment Tragedy - Job Promise Sparks 'Wound Racket'

Countless jobseekers besieged National Hospital early Thursday in attempts to be counted among those wounded in last Saturday's stampede hours after the Presidency announced automatic employment in compensation for those wounded.

Hospital sources confirmed what they called the "wound racket" and said those who visited Thursday demanded to be put on the hospital's list of wounded applicants in hopes of securing the compensation job announced at Wednesday's meeting of the Federal Executive Council.

They displayed various degrees of injuries they said they sustained in Saturday's stampede at National Stadium, where more than 68,000 jobseekers turned for recruitment into Nigeria Immigrations Service.

They were not among the estimated 40 injured applicants ferried to the National Hospital in the wake of the stampede.

Their claims have not been ruled out completely, but a source at the hospital said, "These are most likely people who were treated in other hospitals, not here.

"It is impossible to say for sure anything about their injuries, or when they got injured. It could have been on Saturday or any time since then or they could even injure themselves. People are desperate," the source said.

Another source said the hospital had compiled its own list of wounded admitted there and it was out of its keeping.

One wounded applicant Peace Uruaku was discharged Thursday morning but was still awaiting crutches--to be bought by the interior ministry which has footed hospital bills of the injured--before she could leave the hospital.

Uruaku told Daily Trust that officials have listed applicants several times since she regained consciousness and been visited by both ministers of interior and health.

A second applicant, Uneison Ataidu, mortally wounded in the neck and unable to walk, is yet to be discharged.

National Hospital authorities have yet to give an official response but it has expressed caution about releasing the bodies of those killed in the stampede to relatives.

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