Lagos, Nigeria - The death toll from the stampede at several venues of the Nigerian Immigration Service's job test on Saturday has risen from 11 to 19, while dozens of others were injured, according to the local media on Sunday.
The private Nation newspaper reported that 8 people died in the capital city of Abuja, five in the oil city of Port Harcourt as well as three each in the southern city of Benin and the northern city of Minna.
The victims include three pregnant women who died at the Benin centre, one of the 37 venues of the job test across the country.
The stampede was said to have occurred at many venues due to the high number of applicants who thronged the centres.
At the National Stadium in Abuja, over 60,000 candidates turned up for the test, stretching the capacity of the stadium.
About 50 of them, including pregnant women, were injured in the stampede that ensued as the applicants tried to gain entry into the main bowl of the stadium.
The same situation was recorded in Lagos, where over 70,000 people turned up at the 45,000-capacity National Stadium.
Published reports said over 500,000 candidates were shortlisted for the test, each of whom paid 1,000 Naira (about US$6) to register, even though the NIS only declared a vacancy of 5,000.
PANA reports that Nigeria's official unemployment rate of 23. 9 per cent (54% of youths are unemployed), which many analysts have described as a conservative figure, has meant a mad rush for the few jobs available in Africa's most populous nation.
Ahead of the 2015 general elections, the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which is seeking to wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said job creation remains its top priority - in apparent shot at the PDP.
The ruling party has called for an investigation to unravel the causes of the stampede.