A night inferno has destroyed property worth millions of Naira at the residence of Prof. Michael Ibadin, the immediate past Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
The News Agency of Nigeria correspondent, who visited the scene on Friday, reports that the relics of destruction by the inferno were visible at Ibadin’s residence.
Ibadin’s residence is located at the Senior Staff Quarters, Ugbowo Campus of the University of Benin.
The Professor of Paediatrics, who told NAN on Friday that he returned home from a trip a few minutes before the fire outbreak, was seen trying to salvage what was left of his belongings.
He said: “I lost everything I ever worked for in life, including my certificates, other vital documents and my clothes.
“I couldn’t remove anything from my room, not even my telephone set. Everything was completely burnt down.
“All the three bedrooms were not spared in the fire outbreak. But I thank God no life was lost.
“I am aware my wife lost close to N2 million cash in the fire that engulfed her bedroom in the house. I didn’t have much cash in my room.
“The best I would have in my room is maybe N10,000. The damage is mainly my documents, books and clothes.”
The former CMD, who was clearly worried over the incident also said, “to rebuild the burnt building would cost not less than N10 million”.
He appealed to kind hearted Nigerians and corporate bodies to assist him to reconstruct his burnt official residence.
He also said that fire fighters from the military base in Benin finally came to the rescue and restricted the fire to the top floor of the duplex.
Ibadin, who said he did not know the cause of the fire, told NAN that the fire would have been easily controlled within five minutes of good firefighting.
He alleged that the UNIBEN fire service told him they exhausted the water in their vehicle while the fire was still raging.
He narated: “I just returned home at about 7 p.m and there was a blackout and I directed that the generating set be put on.
“Some minutes after the generator was switched on, I saw smoke coming from one of the rooms.
“I immediately switched off the generator and took out my fire extinguisher to combat the fire, with the help of neighbours and some security men in my house.
“I also immediately contacted the fire service station in the University campus, which is the closest to my house, and that of UBTH. Their efforts were not good enough.
“It was the military fire fighters that came at the last minute that actually put out the fire after the UNIBEN and UBTH fire service stations were helpless.”
“The response of fire service in UNIBEN and UBTH was tardy.
“Again, maybe it is an eye-opener for the University. The UNIBEN fire service was the first I contacted because they are closest to my house.”
Michael Osasuyi, UNIBEN’s Public Relations Officer, described the incident to NAN as pathetic.
Osasuyi said the university’s fire service arrived the scene on time but the fire was huge due to the wooden nature of the structure.
He also confirmed that the water of the firefighting truck got exhausted, adding that even the UBTH and S and T fire services, also came to assist and exhausted their water too.
He said that the UNIBEN fire service was known for prompt functional services.
Also Uwaila Joshua, UBTH spokesperson, said that he was not in town at the time of the incident.
He, however, noted that it was possible that the UBTH fire fighters were not contacted on time, adding that he was yet to be briefed.