Promise Eze, Hayatullahi Mudathir and Abdulrasheed Akere report,
Abolarin Ibrahim, a 200-level student at the department of English and Literary studies, left his room at the Benjee hostel for Jum’at prayer. Little did he know that he would be homeless in less than an hour.
The Benjee hostel, one of the major private hostels on campus, was engulfed in fire about 1:00 pm on Friday. PEN PRESS UDUS confirmed that no fewer than 36 rooms were caught in the flames.
The cause of the fire has not been ascertained but it is alleged that an electric spark ignited the fire while others rumour that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder.
‘I Lost Everything’
“I was on my way from Jum’at prayer when I received a call from one of my hostel mates asking me to come back home immediately because our hostel was on fire,” Ibrahim recalled.
He rushed down to his hostel environment immediately but couldn’t get inside his compound because there was only one entrance and it was already in flames. Some students however broke into the compound by tearing down some of the walls.
“I lost everything. I lost my original certificates. I lost my clothes. Even the properties my friend kept in my room got burnt. I have nowhere to stay now.” he lamented.
From Being a Tenant to Becoming a ‘Refugee’
A 100 level Medical Laboratory Science student, a resident of room 392, one of the affected rooms in the Benjee hostel was found standing at the front of his room, looking at the ashes of the items he left in good condition before he went for lecture in the morning. His face looked sympathetic and he appeared helpless.
When speaking with PEN PRESS UDUS under the condition of anonymity, he said that he was not at home when the fire started.
“Actually, I was in UDUTH for a lecture when I received a call from my roommate that our hostel was on fire and no one was able to take anything from the room. Everything is gone,” he said.
His roommate, a 100 level student of Microbiology who also does not want his name to appear in print, alleged that the fire was caused by an electric spark.
SU CTC Reacts
When Shamsudeen Umar, the Students’ Union Caretaker Committee chairman was contacted and asked about the cause of the fire, he replied that the cause has not yet been ascertained.
“Although, someone said that the cause was due to an electricity spark, but we haven’t ascertained the cause yet, but investigation has commenced to unravel the cause.
I’m just coming from the VC and he has promised that the management would set up a committee to look into the issue, the causes and way out of preventing its future occurrence,” he replied.
The Chairman, however, promised to discuss with the Dean Students’ Affairs to allow the stranded students live at the Bakassi hostels’ common rooms in the meantime.