Last Friday was gloomy for many students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) who live in Benjee dormitory where an inferno did not spare their properties.
The incident, WikkiTimes gathered, occurred around 2:00 pm and lasted for 40 minutes.
Nazeef Muhammad, a 400-level student of Applied Chemistry told WikkiTimes, in a telephone conversation that the fire was ignited by an electric spark which extended to gas cylinders.
At the time of the incident, many students have gone for Juma’at prayer, except their Christian colleagues, according to Muhammad.
He explained that the school’s electricity had been epileptic since students resumed school.
“The Nepa tried their best to fix the light but it was when most of us were away for mosque,” he said. “The light voltage was too high and it led to a spark that exploded gas cylinders.”
According to PEN PRESS, a campus journalism outlet in UDUS, Abolarin Ibrahim, a sophomore student of English and Literary studies returned to meet the ashes of an apartment he left intact before going to Juma’at.
“I was on my way from Jum’at prayer when I received a call from one of my hostel mates asking me to come back home immediately because our hostel was on fire,” Ibrahim told the platform. “I lost everything. I lost my original certificates. I lost my clothes. Even the properties my friend kept in my room got burnt. I have nowhere to stay now.”
Shamusudeen Nasir, a final-year student of Chemistry who lost his properties to the inferno said he was not around at the time of the incident.
“I went to Jummah prayer when the incident happened,” Nasir said. ” I lost everything to the fire that gutted about 45 rooms in Benjee Hostel which has over 500 rooms.”
Shamsudeen Umar, the chairman SU Caretaker Committee in a telephone conversation told campus journalists he instantly informed the owner of the house, Alhaji Abubakar Aliero Benjee, who called on the state fire service to contain the fire.
“Immediately I called him, he instructed that the generator should first be put on for water pumping and should be continually used to prevent the spread of the fire before the arrival of the fire service,” he said.
But WikkiTimes learnt the building has only one entrance and this frustrated the firefighters who responded to the distress call.
“The school firefighters tried their best before the state fire service’s operators took up the operation, and with the help of good ‘Samaritan’ among the students who had to forcefully break many walls to enter the building from different areas while others fetch water with buckets, the fire was totally contained,” Umar said. “The management bitterly complained about the entrance and had called the house owner to order.”
“For now, We have discussed with the Dean, Students’ Affairs and we have provided a place for the fire victims to live in the meantime,” he added. “They should just go to the Bakassi Hostels and ask for ‘Portal’, the common rooms in the hostels have been provided for them.”