Tensions ran high at the University of Calabar (Unical) on Monday, August 7th, 2023, as a scheduled General Studies (GSS) examination for students in levels 100 and 200 took an unexpected turn due to a last-minute call for a Solemn Assembly. The incident left students in disarray, injured, and concerned about their academic pursuits. Among the casualties were three students who suffered injuries during the chaotic scene that unfolded outside the examination venue. In a remarkable display of unity, fellow students came together to aid an asthmatic student who was seen struggling for breath, showcasing the power of camaraderie in times of crisis.
The morning of August 7, 2023, started like any other examination day at the University of Calabar (Unical). Thousands of students gathered at the Academic Publishing Center beside the Unical ICT center, ready to sit for their GSS exams. The clock struck 9:00 am, and the examination process was about to begin when an unforeseen disruption occurred.
In an unprecedented move, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Mrs. Florence Obi, addressed the assembled students. She announced that they were to participate in a Solemn Assembly, a spiritual event featuring Bishop Dr. Emmah Gospel Isong as the guest speaker. The assembly was scheduled to take place at the Unical Conference Center by 10:00 am on the same day.
The abrupt change in plans left many students frustrated and bewildered. Despite their objections, the GSS exams were postponed to 12:00 noon, causing further dissatisfaction among the student body. After the Solemn Assembly, students returned to the exams venue, and those who were already called in earlier were allowed to enter and sit for the exams. It was a rough experience for them.
A sea of students descended upon the entrance of the building, creating a tumultuous atmosphere. The situation worsened as students jostled and pushed their way through, resulting in some unfortunate students falling into a large gutter near the entrance. The frantic motion of the crowd led to injuries ranging from dislocated legs to asthma attacks. Valuables such as phones, shoes, and personal items were lost in the chaos.
The entire incident was captured by students on the scene through images and videos, providing a visual testament to the chaos and disarray that marred what was intended to be a routine examination day. Students captured the disarray, showcasing the impact of the disorganized rush and its toll on their peers.
As tensions mounted and the situation spiraled out of control, university officials made the difficult decision to postpone the GSS exams until the following week, Monday. This move aimed to ensure the safety and well-being of all students while allowing time for those injured to recover and regroup. Those who were unable to sit for the exams due to the incident would have the opportunity to take the postponed exams next Monday, according to a reliable source.
The incident has sparked a flurry of discussions within the Unical community, with students expressing their concerns and grievances regarding the handling of the situation. What was supposed to be a day of academic assessment turned into a day of unforeseen disruptions and unfortunate incidents.
The aftermath of August 7, 2023, will undoubtedly prompt the University of Calabar (Unical) and other institutions to reevaluate their protocols, ensuring that academic pursuits are not overshadowed by unforeseen chaos and that students’ welfare remains at the forefront of any decision-making process.