updated 3/16/2014 6:23:47 AM ET 2014-03-16T10:23:47

ABUJA (Reuters) - Seven people have been killed in a stampede at Nigeria's national stadium during a recruitment drive for the immigration service, officials and witnesses said on Sunday.

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The stampede late on Saturday shows the desperation for jobs in Africa's second biggest economy and most populous nation, where oil wealth has enriched elites and grown the economy by more than 6 percent a year but has failed to create employment.

Officials said only one entrance to the 60,000 capacity stadium was open during the aptitude test for applicants to join the immigration service.

Reuters counted seven bodies at the National Hospital where the dead and injured were taken.

Tayo Haastrup, spokesman of the hospital, said there were several injured in a critical but stable condition.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the untimely death of the young citizens who were at the exercise not only to secure jobs but to be allowed the opportunity to contribute towards the development of the nation," said Olisa Metuh, spokesman of Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Alison Williams)

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