The Acting Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Mr Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife and two kids were on Monday burnt to death in a fire incident in Makurdi.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Benue, DSP Sewuese Anene who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the fire started at about 2.40 a.m at Kwarafa Quaters, Makurdi.
NAN reports that 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 stated that the cause of the fire was yet to be known, adding that “investigation into the matter had already commenced”.
Reacting to the development, the Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, who 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, the 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.
NAN also 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 neighbourhood 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 firefighters from Benue Government House, Makurdi, came to the scene on time but they had little to do to save them.
Eyewitnesses said it might have been caused by an electrical fault as it razed down the entire house and extended to three other houses.