UNICAL GSS CBT EXAMINATION: PROF OJUA, DIRECTOR CENTER FOR GENERAL STUDIES, SETS THE RECORDS STRAIGHT
On Saturday, the 11th of November, 2023, University of Calabar students who were scheduled to write Computer Based Test (CBT) GSS Examination, set out to write their exams without any premonition that the exercise will be marred by an unfortunate incident of Stampede casualties, leading to the indefinite suspension of the examination as a result of some medical emergency.
Unfortunately, some people saw the incident as an avenue for making headlines and attracting traffic to their platforms and blogs. While some built on hurried publications and posts to re-create stories, others merely found new opportunities to further their negative publicity on the University of Calabar in such a critical time of the life of the University. In all of these, facts were misrepresented, skewed and disseminated, with brazen misinformation about what exactly happened. Based on the high level of misconception and misconstruction of the facts, the Directorate of the Center for General Studies (CGS) deemed it necessary to set the following records straight.
Ø That GSS (General Studies) Exams, was scheduled to commence on Wednesday, 8th of November 2023. On Thursday the 9th of November 2023, Exams was successfully conducted, with all scheduled students, finishing before 4:00pm.
Ø That the Exams of Friday, the 10th of November 2023 started successfully by 8am, until the heavy rain and storms began at about 10am, causing the stoppage of the examination until the rain and flood subsided at about 3pm, when some students returned to write the exams till about 5pm. And while it was raining, and flooding heavily, a group of students rather than move out of the rain to take refuge on nearby buildings, preferred to stand in the rain despite pleas and announcements from the staff of the Center, man O’War and security men.
Ø That the examination of Saturday, the 11th of November 2023, started smoothly, with the 3rd set, almost concluding, before students who either missed exams, were not scheduled to write in the morning or were not even part of the examination, became unruly, uncontrollable, impatient, defiant, by wanting to break into the exam venue forcefully.
Ø That as a result of an unprecedented surge by a mass of students, the gate leading to the venue of the CBT Center, Academic Publishing Center (APC), was destroyed by a violent push, resulting in a serious Stampede, as those in the front lines, fell on the ground, and trampled on. It took the effort of the staff and some students to salvage the situation, while rushing the casualties to the University Medical Center and the Teaching Hospital.
Ø That 14 students were rushed to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, and 7 (seven) at the Medical Center, for emergency treatment. And before 5pm, more than 10 students were discharged and taken home, remaining just a few who were to be further examined, even though they were fully stabilised and recuperated.
Ø That the Director of the Center, Prof Takim Asu Ojua, the Deputy Director Maxwell Eba, the NUCJ Team, in company of The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Linkages, Prof. P. C. Okafor visited both UCTH and the Medical l Center, to ascertain that all the casualties were fully stabilized. They were all spoken to directly, and their information documented.
Ø That no one died during or after the incident, even though it was reported on some social media handles that some students died during the pandemonium.
Ø That before now, GSS CBT exams has held successfully in the same venue, with a capacity of taking up to 450 (four hundred and fifty) students per set, without any hitch with a larger number, writing and finishing before 4:00pm each day.
Ø That the fully equipped CBT Center, has the capacity to conduct larger examinations such as the last UTME (Jamb) which had a far higher number of students than those sitting for Gss Exams.
Ø That the Examination was scheduled in batches, with specific faculties scheduled to write on stipulated time and dates. Unfortunately, some students refused to abide by the Time Table Schedule and rather decided to gate- crash by forcing the gate to open, resulting in the avoidable, unfortunate and regrettable incident.
Ø That the essence of the introduction of the GSS CBT exams by the school management was to ensure fast service delivery, easy access to examination and results and to reduce the stress on students during examination periods.
Ø That stories and narratives making rounds on social media about the number of casualties, deaths, lack of venues and accommodation for the exams, insufficient Computers etc, are wholesomely untrue and does not reflect the situation on ground, considering the fact that GSS CBT examination has been ongoing since 2020.
The Management and staff of the Center, regrets the occurrence of this ugly incident, which was avoidable, had the students kept to the scheduled Time Table, not destroy the canopies and maintained the queues as instructed.
Accordingly, family members are assured of the safety of our children who were affected by the Stampede as management is in close touch with the students and some family members to ensure that they recuperate fully.
Students are therefore advised to travel as the exams has been suspended till further notice.
So help us God.
Prof Takim Asu Ojua
Director, Center for General Studies