Mysterious fire on Saturday razed down Dignified Palace hotel, Uyo as well as a private school, Annang Secondary Commercial School Idung Esimuk, in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.
It was gathered that in Dignified hotel, the fire started from the top floor and moved down to different layers of the hotel.
The Manager of the hotel, Emmanuel James speaking expressed shock at the incident saying there was no power supply and the hotel’s generator was turned off as at the time of the incident.
Also, the inferno in Annang Secondary Commercial school destroyed school documents, buildings and other property.
The Proprietor of the school, Rev. Joseph Ada said he rushed to the school on getting the information about the fire incident, adding that by the time he got there the fire had become uncontrollable.
Ada said, “I was at home that night when I received the unfortunate news and before I could rush down to the scene it was already late to control the fire. Some concerned neighbours had tried to quench the fire when it started before my arrival but their efforts proved abortive as the flame kept increasing.
“When I arrived, I was helpless as I was confused of what to do at that point because that fire could only be controlled by fire fighters and the only fire-fighting station we used to have in Essien Udim was attacked and burnt during the recent crisis.”
He said the fire incident remained a mystery to him because the school has no electricity connection or generating plant, adding that they always hire generating set whenever the need arises, wondering what would have caused such inferno which has wrecked so much havoc on the school.
Ada who is also the Chairman, National Association of Private Schools Essien Udim Chapter, said that the inferno has rendered both the teachers and students of the school helpless as the September 2021 resumption date in Akwa Ibom State approaches.
He therefore appealed to both local and state governments, corporate bodies as well as public spirited individuals to assist him reconstruct the school which he said has been a source of livelihood to him and many others and citadel of learning in the locality.
“I am pleading with our governor, Udom Emmanuel, to come to my aid in the spirit of ‘Dakkada’ so that I can reconstruct the school before the next academic session in September. Let the governor through our amiable Commissioner for Education come and see things for himself.
“Here I am left with nothing except God. Everything I had in this school has gone. Both classroom and administrative blocks have been razed and all documents completely damaged, destroyed and burnt to ashes”, the Proprietor lamented.
He called on parents and guardians to remain calm as the management is doing everything possible to ensure that their students resume in time despite the fire incidence, adding that the school remains the top choice for parents who wish to give their wards qualitative education.
A staff of the school, Emmanuel Akpan, who spoke with newsmen also pleaded with the governments at all levels and philantropic organisations to support the proprietor to rebuild the school which he said has helped put food on the table of many and also provided educational services to children in the community.
He described the school as one of the best in the area in terms of academic standard.
“The school is one of the best around here and as such it should not be allowed to go down the drain like that despite the fact that it is owned by private individual. We appeal to governments to assist the proprietor for the sake of the students’ examinations.
“As you can see, candidates who are writing NECO and WAEC now are stranded as there is no hall for them to use”, Akpan lamented.