The Okeke Female Hostel at the University of Nigeria, UNN, Nsukka campus, has been reportedly brought down by fire.
Joy Uwalaka, a student and eye witness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the incident happened on Wednesday night at about 7.30 p.m. from the last floor of the two-story building as soon as the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) restored power to the campus
“It was when some of the students around the hostel started shouting fire! fire!!, that I jumped out from my hostel which was close to Okeke Hostel, there was a big smoke and fire burning on the last floor of Okeke Hostel,” she said.
Speaking with NAN, Patrick Aro, the Chief Fire Officer in charge of Enugu North District, said that his men responded promptly to the distress call by some members of the public.
Aro whose office was close to UNN first gate, however, said that shortage of water to extinguish the raging fire aggravated to serious damage to the hostel, he also expressed his disappointment that the two boreholes on the campus had no water.
“My men tried their best, as we rushed immediately we received calls that there was a fire outbreak in Okeke Hall When we had exhausted our water, we were unable to get a refill from the two boreholes in UNN as they had no water inside them, before we could get water in the boreholes in Nsukka town, the fire had razed the last floor.” He said.
Aro alleged that the gas cylinders and electric cookers in hostel added strength to the inferno and urged the management of UNN to stop allowing students to cook with gas cylinders and electric stoves.
“We saw gas cylinders and electric cookers in the course of trying to put-out the fire, though some students said the fire started as soon as the EDDC restored light but those cooking gadgets gave a boost to fire.
Also, Prof. Peter Aka, the Dean of Students’ Affairs in the university said that the fire incident at hostel was an unfortunate one.
“They have paid for accommodation fee and the school must provide alternative accommodations for them when they returned, though, some students said the fire started when public light was restored, the university shall set-up a committee to find out the real cause of the fire so as to avert future recurrence, The university will compensate all students that lost those belongings and valuable, my happiness is that no life was lost,” he said.
Aka stressed that the fire fighters exhausted their water on time because they came with a half-tank of water.
“When the fire fighters had exhausted their water, attempt to refill from the campus boreholes failed because there were no water inside them, it is unfortunate that every item in the last floor of the hostel got burnt into ashes, before the fire service could get water in the boreholes in Nsukka town. ‘he said.
Also speaking, was the President of the Students Union Government (SUG) Ekene Orji, who said the SUG would partner with school authorities in ensuring that the affected students are provided alternative accommodations when they return back to school in January 2016.