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How students died in hostel fire


October 21, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ News About Education,NEWS and Gossip



 

The sight of ruins of the dormitory of Baptist High School, Marke, a settlement near Keffi in Nasarawa State in which some students were burnt to death and others left with injuries will shock every eye.
It somewhat reminds one of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State where nearly 300 school girls were abducted and the hostels burnt to ashes by the Boko Haram Islamist militants over a year ago.
The midnight inferno that razed the over 50-bed capacity boys hostel left two students dead and three others injured. The dead are Joseph Idris and Luka Birmande.
Amid the sad incident is the suspicion, that for reasons yet unknown, the hostel might have been set on fire by unknown arsonists. That is however, yet to be ascertained by the police pending conclusion of investigations
Joseph Afara and Josiah John and Adamu sustained burns and were later treated at the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Keffi.
Hospital sources disclosed that the three students were brought to the hospital at about 2.30am on the fateful morning in very critical conditions and were first treated at the hospital emergency facility.
The day and month of the accident coincides with the 10th anniversary of the school established in September 2005.
The school management, students and the entire community was thrown into sorrow because of the incident, and according to one of the community leaders, Mr. David Aguzi, they have never experienced such before, and never had premonition of such horrible occurrence.
The school principal, Engineer Ametuo Ojo Omeiza told Abuja Metro in an interview that the school was closed down and students were sent back to allow the security operatives who were invited in investigate the cause of the fire and to also enable the authority assess the magnitude of the damage.
Omeiza who said he only resume as principal of the school on January 1 noted that the school does not have any reason at the moment to suspect anyone as being responsible for the incident, but hoped the answer would be found soon.
“I must thank God that it is not more than what has happened, yet we are devastated by the accident.”
Conducting Abuja Metro round the damaged hostel, he lamented: “You can see that the entire building was razed down. No item was taken out.
“All the belongings of the students got burnt as you can see. All the beds even the walls of the building were burnt.
The fire was so much that you can even see the walls have fallen. With the extent of damage ‎and the number of victims recorded, we just have to thank God because it would have been even more but for his grace,” he stated.
The principal said: “Since I do not live within the school premises, at about 1. 30 am I got a call from the school chaplain to inform me about the incident‎.
“I had immediately directed that the affected students be taken to the hospital while I also joined them almost immediately. The rest of the students were evacuated from the hostels.
“We later took a roll call and realised that two students were missing outside the three that were taken to the hospital that was when we conducted a search in the damaged building and ‎found them dead.
“One of the deceased was so brave. He was the one that rescued many of the students from the fire but he was later consumed when he went back to check if any student was left in the building.
“So far, we have invited security agents who are still carrying out investigations to unravel the cause.
According to the principal, there were about 50 students in the damaged hostel. It has the largest number of students. The total population of the school he disclosed is over 400. He said the management would meet with parents at an enlarged PTA meeting to address them.

Reasonable bereaved father
For the parent‎s of the students, particularly, the dead ones, life has been very devastating since the news of the death of their children got to them.
The father of Joseph, His Royal Highness, Idris Danjuma, the Madaki of Ado, in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, told Abuja Metro that his family is shocked by the death of his 17-year-old son, Joseph who was in Senior Secondary School (SSS) 1 class. He said the teenager was the joy of the entire family.
“My son ‎was burnt beyond recognition in the dormitory of the school where I took him to study.  I saw his dead body on his bed where he was sleeping in the night and was caught in the inferno.
“We have since buried him. It is hard to believe and to overcome the fact that he is no more with the family, but we have to move on. We don’t hold anything in mind against any one, not even the school authority because I know that it was not their deliberate intention or wish that my son should be killed in the school,” he stated.
He however, lamented that the school authority did not inform him about the death Joseph.
“I got to know of it through a friend who visited one Reverend Adamu of the ECWA Church in New Nyanya who also has his child in the same school ‎and they were discussing the incident and the friend called to ask if I was aware of the accident in my son’s school.
“I responded that I have not heard about it. When I approached the Reverend, I further confirmed and said some students died and others got injured.
I immediately contacted the principal of the school and he officially confirmed and then asked me to come over to the school.
I rushed to the school with some of my brothers to know what really happened. ‎I was there at about 11 am and we met with the principal. He showed us the scene of the incident.
“I later told him that ‎we have seen what took place but where is my son? He replied that two boys got burnt in the hostel and three are in the hospital but I should wait for the list of those in the hospital to check if my son’s name was among.
When I insisted to go to the hostel to see those burnt children before going through the list, he refused. In the course of these, I saw my two pastors coming into the school. They called me aside and told me to take heart that my son was among the students that died.
That was when I queried why they did not inform me earlier that my son was dead. The principal only explained that they were scared of breaking the news to me that way because they didn’t know how I would react to it.
Chief Idris ‎said, I have since find solace in the Lord who gave me the child and has taken his life in his prime.
“It was then I insisted I must see the corpse to be sure of what they told me. When I got there, I discovered he was the one. He was burnt beyond recognition. He got burnt with the bed he slept on. The only thing that made me to be sure he was the one was his reading desk.
They later asked ‎me to wait for the police report before my son’s remains will be handed over to me for burial. But I told them I don’t need the police report to bury him since I don’t have any case with the school.
His body was brought home by the school with some officials and was later buried. ‎They returned the next day with N10,000 which I refused. Though, they insisted and my people also advised that I should collect it. But as I told them, I don’t have any case against the school.
“My prayer is that God should protect all the children in various schools from danger and any misfortune. I also pr‎ay that such incident should not befall school again. The school needs prayers.
“I have since rejected any advice from people to do anything that is not good because I know it’s not their wish that the children in their school should die.
“My son would still die eventually some day, somewhere, I don’t need to do anything bad.

Suspicion
Meanwhile, as the school awaits the security findings to ascertain the cause of the fire, there are reports that the hostel may have been set on fire.
Unconfirmed sources disclosed that there was bonfire just by the corner of the hostel and the doors of the hostels were locked up but one.
The source further hinted that, clothes belonging to the students that were left outside in the night were gathered to a heap and set ablaze near the remaining door of the hostel.
Majority of the students, it was gathered, escaped through the windows because the fire was most severe at the only door that would have served as escape root.

The school authority however, declined comments on the allegations as the principal, Engr. Omeiza said they school do not suspect anyone yet and still await security reports from the investigations.

Source: Sun news

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