Property worth millions of naira including arms and ammunition, uniforms of immigration personnel, mobile phones and other office equipment, were recently razed down by fire at the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, office in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The fire, according to report, also spread to nearby houses, destroying generators, outboard engines, livestock, among other things.
A Senior Immigration Assistant, who identified himself as Umana Odudu, said that if not for God, they would have lost their lives.
Odudu said, “We did not pick anything, even a pin out of the office. The fire destroyed our arms and ammunition, uniforms, fans, and others. The cloth I have on now, is the only property with me.
“Just like a dream, we lost everything within a moment,” he said, adding that ‘the inferno came as a dream as he was in the office when his senior officer, who was outside, shouted at him to run out of the office as fire was razing the building.’
“The speed and intensity of the inferno was caused by the thatched houses. I have given an order on Friday that no new building in Ibaka must be with thatched roofs or wall.”
Etifit condemned the attitude of the fire service personnel in Ibaka. He disclosed that the fire servicemen left their vehicle in Ibaka while they resided in Oron, adding that before they could leave Oron on event of fire disaster for Ibaka, the whole community would have been burnt.
One of the victims, Samuel Esin, said no one could tell how exactly the fire started.
“We did not know how the fire started, but from the information we gathered, it started from the home of a woman who was trying to dry fish. The swiftness with which the inferno raised buildings with no victims being able to salvage a single property is unimaginable.
Recounting his loses, Esin said he invested about N2.5m in his business, which went up in flames in the twinkling of an eye.
“I do not know how we are going to start a new life. The source of my income worth millions of naira has been destroyed.
“It is now that we need government’s help. We do not want to take into militancy to care for our families. We are a people with conscience. We simply need help now,” Esin added.