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Permanent secretary, wife, children die in Benue’s fire outbreak

A senior official in the service of Benue State Government, Serker Akaa, his wife and two children were on early hours of Monday burnt to…

A senior official in the service of Benue State Government, Serker Akaa, his wife and two children were on early hours of Monday burnt to death in a fire outbreak which engulfed their house in Makurdi.

Daily Trust reports that the deceased official until his death, was an acting Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology.

Witnesses said the fire suspected to have been caused by electrical surge started about 2:20am from the living room of the deceased at Kwararafa Quarters in Makurdi metropolis and further spread to other three adjourning flats.

An occupant of one of the three other affected flats and a Chaplain of the Government House Chapel of Grace, Rev. Daniel Unongo, told our correspondent, that, he was awake at 2:45am when he had the deceased wife and her children crying for help.

“I live in Flat 3. The fire started from the deceased Flat 1 and affected four flats on the row. When I heard the late woman and her children screaming; I quickly ran outside my house to see what was happening.

“We (including other neighbours) tried to break through the doors and gate but it wasn’t accessible, even the window had double burglary. So we started fetching water soaked in detergent to quench the fire while we called the Fire Service and they arrived in less than 30minutes at about 3:20am,” he said.

The Chaplain, Rev. Unongo
The Chaplain, Rev. Unongo

Unongo explained that however the four occupants of the house died before the arrival of the Fire Service even as it took the fire fighters another 30 minutes to break through the door to have access to quench the fire.

Similarly, the woman in Flat 4, Mrs Josephine Iorhembe, whose house was also gutted by the fire, narrated that she was praying at 3:00am when she started hearing shrill cries from the deceased’s end of the apartment.

Iorhembe said she ran outside her house, joined other neighbours to fetch water in a bid to quench the fire but that their effort could not yield any fruitful result before the voice of the weeping woman and her children suddenly faded away.

Our correspondent also gathered from relatives of the deceased that the late woman, Linda, was pregnant adding that her two kids; Tertsegh,6, and Sender Akaa, 3, as well as their father were full of life when they attended a thanksgiving service on Sunday at their ECWA church along Barracks road in Makurdi, barely 12 hours before the unfortunate incident.

Meanwhile, the Police of Division ‘A’ led by its DPO were seen mounting surveillance at the site of the incident while they condone off the affected houses.

Police spokesperson in the state, Catherine Anene, who confirmed the incident however said the cause of the fire was yet unknown.

Anene said the corpse of the deceased government official and three of his family members who died in the fire have been recovered by the police and deposited at a hospital morgue.

As at the time of filing this report, Governor Samuel Ortom, has expressed deep sadness over the death of Seker Akaa, his wife and two children.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said that the death of Akaa and his family was a painful loss to the state government and Benue in general.

Ortom consoled the bereaved family as well as their friends and relations over the unfortunate incident and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest.

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