Though the incident happened last Tuesday, the council chairman who is the younger brother to the governor kept the disaster a top secret. Journalists got to know about the fire disaster yesterday because of the distance between Ngala local government and Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Some of the victims of the fire are currently receiving treatment at the Professor Umaru Shehu ultra modern hospital.
Attempts by journalists to visit the disaster area which is about 40 kilometres away from the headquarters of Ngala local were prevented bye local officials, who cited the rough terrain and insecurity as reasons for their action.
Some villagers who later spoke to journalists said, government was covering up the incident alleging that the victims were neglected since the incident occurred. Some of the victims at the hospital told journalists that the incident took place at about 2 pm last Tuesday during which wild fires, escalating from nearby bushes engulfed the village.
A survivor, Gambo Mohammad, who is currently caring for an injured relation at the Bulumkutu Ultra-Modern Hospital, recounted that after Zhur prayers on that faithful day, wild fires uncontrollably began to consume clusters of their thatched roof houses in their village while they watched helplessly “as three of our loved ones died along with over 400 livestock while many people sustained serious injuries”.
Relations of some of the hospitalized victims said since the victims were conveyed to Maiduguri from by the council “no government official from the state or local government has visited them or given them any kind of relief or drugs for treatment.”
One of the villagers told our correspondent that apart from the information unit that took some visual photos, “nothing has been done to assist us. Our people still sleep in the open”, a condition health workers fear may lead to an epidemic.
When contacted, chairman of the council, Alhaji Goni Modu Sheriff insisted his council had informed the state government. “I have sent a report to the governor and we are awaiting the next line of action” even though he confirmed that relief materials and disinfectants to avert a possible epidemic were yet to be provided to the victims.
The state government was yet to make any official statement on the matter as at yesterday even as top government officials were surprised that such an incident took place when they were contacted by journalists.