By Jimin Geoffrey
A Seven Room Apartment located beside Fr. Tansi Academy, Villa Suite Street, Gyado Villa, Makurdi was in the early hours of today gutted by fire, destroying property worth millions of naira.
Narrating his ordeal when our correspondent visited him in his burnt apartment, the landlord, Mr. Dondu Gangese said the inferno started from a provision shop operated by his wife, Mrs. Doofan Dondu, through the refrigerator when power was restored around 3am this morning and engulfed the entire building.
According to him, before the arrival of men of fire service, efforts made by family members and occupants of the apartment, who are mostly students, to put off the fire proved abortive.
He said all his household belongings including educational certificates of some of his children, provisions, cash and students belongings were lost in the inferno.
The landlord disclosed that his daughter, who had gotten admission to study Guidance and Counseling at the Benue State University Makurdi also lost the money she withdrew to pay for admission letter and acceptance fee to the fire disaster.
Mr. Dondu while appealing to government and public spirited individuals to come to their aide further revealed that his mother’s Five Room apartment in the village was gutted by fire on the 26th of December last year, stressing that today’s disaster had thrown him into more confusion as he and his mother were currently without shelter and food.
No thanks to the fire fighters as it was alleged that on their way to the incident, their first vehicle ran short of fuel and they had to bring in another vehicle from the office before arriving the scene.
On their part, some of the affected students including Mr. Jacob Ato, Maurice Orwough, Kumaiin Moses, Audu Akwebe and Atsagba Emmanuel as well as Peter Onoja and David Oibe-Jones all of the Benue State University said they were traumatized by the incidence as they have lost everything including food stuff to the disaster.
They appealed to government and other spirited individuals to come to their aid by providing them with immediate relief in order to enable them continue with their examinations which is currently ongoing.
Reacting to the incident during a sympathy visit to the landlord who worships with NKST Church Iortyer, the State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Akpen Leva, described the disaster as unfortunate especially as it occurred at a time when things were very difficult in the country.
He sued for assistance from Christians, government and the general public to enable the landlord renovate the burnt apartments and the affected students carry on with their educational pursuit.
Rev. Leva lamented the attitude of the management and staff of men of the firefighters and urged them to improve on their services to the public by always filling their fuel and water tanks to be able to attend to emergency cases promptly.
When contacted, Operations Officer Benue State Fire Service, Mr. Audu Onah, an Assistant Chief Fire Officer denied the allegation that their vehicle ran out of fuel, stating rather that it developed a mechanical fault and was still parked at the Makurdi-Gboko Road.
According to him, one of their vehicles travelled to Vandeikya to attend to a fire outbreak and they had to call the one stationed at Government House