…As 8 die in early morning road crash in Lokoja***
The Acting Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Mr Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife and two kids were burnt to death in a fire incident in Makurdi early hours of Monday.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Benue, DSP Sewuese Anene confirmed the inferno in Makurdi.
Anene said the fire started at about 2.40 a.m at Kwarafa Quaters, Makurdi.
Three other flats were also burnt including the resident of Evangelist Daniel Unongo, Chaplain of Benue Government House, who is also Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Samuel Ortom on Religion.
Anene said Mr Akaa, his pregnant wife, Linda, two children; Sender and Tertsegh Akaa, all occupants of Flat 1 were burnt to death during the fire disaster.
She said that the dead bodies had been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi mortuary.
The police spokesperson said the cause of the fire accident was yet to be known, saying “investigation into the matter had already commenced”.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, who immediately visited the scene, expressed shock at the level of destruction and loss of human lives.
According to Abounu, it is black day for Benue and the state has lost a prized asset in Mr. Akaa.
He prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“We cannot undo what has happened. At the moment, government will take responsibility for their burial and assist the other families to relocate. We warn against any looting of property.” Abounu said
The Commissioner, Energy, Science Technology, Dr Godwin Oyiwona also confirmed the incident and expressed the ministry’s deepest condolences.
The information gathered from an eyewitness, who refused to be named, that the fire started in flat 1 the residence of the late acting permanent secretary.
He said the perm sec and his family would have been saved but because of the incessant cases of armed robbery recorded within the neighborhood the neighbours thought it was armed robbers that were operating again.
“Actually the fire started at Mr Akaa’s house, we would have saved him and his family but we thought it was armed robbers that were again attacking us.
“You see armed robbers attack us here regularly. So, we have adopted ways of self-defense by providing burglary protection on the doors to prevent them from getting easy access inside, that too caused delay of getting to them on time,” it said.
The witness said fire fighters from Benue Government House, Makurdi, came to the scene on time but they had little to do to save them.
The cause of the inferno remained unknown, eyewitnesses said it might have been caused by electrical fault as it razed down the entire house and extended to three other houses.
The fire was still burning as of the time of filing the report.
In the meantime, eight persons were confirmed dead in a ghastly accident that occurred in the early hours of Monday in Lokoja, the Kogi capital.
Seven others also sustained varying degrees of injuries in the accident that involved a petrol laden truck, three cars, four tricycles, a bus and two motorcycles.
Mr Emmanuel Abe, the state Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) confirmed the accident.
Abe said that the crash happened at about 8.50 a.m. at Felele along Lokoja-Abuja road.
According to him, the accident was caused by brake failure of a petrol-laden DAF truck with Jigawa registration number – JEG141XA.
He said that the truck ran into four tricycles, two motorcycles, three cars and a bus, killing eight persons on the spot.
He said that 17 people were involved in the accident, saying that the injured and the corpses were taken to the Federal Medical Centre and the State Specialist Hospital, both in Lokoja.
Abe said that his men were on the spot to clear the road for normal vehicular movement.