Two Nigerian students are killed and 23 injured in a stampede to get donated rice

ABUJA, Nigeria — Hundreds of students in northern Nigeria rushed to get food donated to their school by the government to help ease hardship, resulting in a stampede that left two dead and 23 others injured, school authorities said Friday.

Africa’s most populous country is facing one of its worst economic crises in decades, triggered by surging inflation and a declining local currency. They followed the introduction of new monetary policies by President Bola Tinubu, who since his election last year has set out to stabilize the economy and attract foreign investment.

The students of Nasarawa State University near the nation’s capital, Abuja, had gathered to receive bags of rice donated by the state government. The situation got out of control following a crowd surge, university spokesperson Abraham Habu Ekpo said.

“Students rushed into the arena where the rice was assembled, and that led to the stampede,” Ekpo said. The 23 injured students were hospitalized in stable condition, he said.

Videos published by local media showed hundreds of students struggling to get to the bags of rice. Some were seen leaving the arena with up to two bags as others rushed to get theirs.

It is not the first time this year that distribution of food has triggered a deadly stampede, as citizens in the country of more than 210 million people are becoming more desperate because of growing hunger and job losses.

At least five people died in the economic hub of Lagos in February when the Nigeria Customs Service sold seized bags of rice at a cheaper price.

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