The Sun News

In Benue, inferno leaves family of 9 homeless, bankrupt

… As brave teenager rescues mum, kid brother from burning house

Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

But for the bravery and timely intervention of her 14-year-old son, Mrs. Roseling Akaaer and her baby, three-month-old Orhemen, would have been dead by now, after their house went up in flames on February 3, this year.

Although both mother and child were rescued from the burning three-room apartment, Mrs. Akaaer sustained third-degree burns on her stomach, legs, hands and face.

Narrating the development to our correspondent at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), where his wife is currently recuperating, Mr. Vincent Tarkumbur Akaaer said he had just left the house to visit a friend that night when a neighbour rushed to inform him that his wife and son were trapped in their burning house.

The 50-year-old father of seven children, a primary school teacher, said the fire started from a lantern that was placed in their room, which might caught fire as a result of adulterated kerosene.

“From what my wife told me after I left the house that evening to visit a friend in the neighbourhood, she took our little baby who was sleeping on her lap to the room to lay him on the bed. Then she noticed that the light in the lantern wasn’t stable.

“She said after laying the child down, she went close to regulate the lantern but was surprised when the whole house suddenly got enveloped in smoke and she couldn’t see anything any longer.

“At that point, she realised that she and her baby had been trapped and all she could do was to keep calling the name of Jesus. Then she summoned courage to raise the alarm, which attracted my 14-year-old son, Nguuma, an SS2 student of Blessed Model College, Ihugh.”

Immediately he heard the noise, Nguuma was said to have rushed into the burning house, rescued both his mother and his little sibling but could not evacuate any property before the whole house was engulfed in flames.

Vincent who hailed from Ihugh town in Vandeikya Local Government Area of the state, thanked God that Nguuma did not sustain any injury while rescuing his mother. He said efforts by neighbours to put out the fire failed, as the fire kept soaring despite their efforts to put it out.

“My neighbours told me that they couldn’t salvage any of my property because, within minutes, the fire had engulfed every part of my building. I lost everything, food, clothing, furniture and certificates, in the inferno. Even the little money we had in the house was also burnt.

“I am, however, grateful to God Almighty that my wife and my little baby who were trapped in the house when the fire started didn’t die. However, when I saw them at the St. Thomas Hospital, Ihugh, where they were first taken to, I became so bitter because I didn’t know where to start again. It was like the world had suddenly come to an end for me. I had no money at all to foot the hospital bill because the little I had was burnt in the fire.”

The 50-year-old teacher, who informed our correspondent that he and his family had been living at the mercy of good Nigerians since the incident, thanked the Vice Chairman of Makurdi Local Government, Mrs. Mwuese Goon, and Ukan Kurugh and their supporters for moving both his wife and the baby to BSUTH and footing the medical bills since then.

“These angels, Mrs. Goon and Ukan came into the picture in the nick of time when I thought all hope was lost. The wife of Justice Orga told them about our case and they stepped in immediately to help. She’s responding to treatment now while my baby has been discharged from hospital and has been in the custody of Mrs. Goon since then,” Akaaer said.

The major problem confronting Akaaer at the moment is how to fend for the remaining six children.

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Online Editor: Aderonke Bello
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