Inferno at the Barracks

26 Nov 2012

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The burnt flat with an antenna among the fleet of flats in the barrack...

A fire incident, which gutted a single unit apartment at the Iyaganku Police barracks in Ibadan, Oyo State, has been the talk of the town in the city. The police command, which ought to have solved the riddle has kept silent since. Could there have been a cover up? Tunde Sanni writes

Two weeks after the incident, the Oyo state police command is yet to make public its findings on an inferno, which gutted one of the apartments at its Iyaganku barracks.

In the inferno, two children of a couple were consumed. The fire only engulfed the one-room apartment of the couple situated on the top floor of a two-storey building inside the police barracks in Ibadan, Oyo State.

One of the kids, a three-year-old boy, Olasunkanmi Maji, reportedly got burnt beyond recognition in the fire incident while his sister, a five-year-old Aishat Maji, who was rescued with third degree burns and rushed to the hospital, died on Friday morning.

THISDAY checks revealed that the mother of the children was out of the house at the time of the occurrence and had locked the children in the room with a candle serving as a source of illumination. There were various speculations on the whereabout of the mother of the two kids whose real name could not be verified. Strong sources within the barracks however confided in THISDAY that the woman went for a spiritual vigil and never anticipated the tragedy.

The source added that the tragedy was aided by the candle, which the mother lit to provide illumination in the room in the event the children woke up later. However after exhausting its stick, the candle flame lit the wooden platform on which the candle might have been placed.

Though the men of Oyo State fire service responded to the incident, the damaged had been done. Neighbours and occupants of the barracks commended men of the state fire service who responded promptly to the distress call, put out the fire and disallowed it from spreading to other room and buildings in the barracks.

The burnt remains of the boy were found while the girl was quickly rescued. Unfortunately, however, she could not make it as she was reported to have died the following morning.

It was gathered that the father of the deceased, Sergeant Mohammed Maji, was serving at Tede Division in Oyo State as of the time the incident happened, but had arrived Ibadan the following morning.

On the outbreak of the incident, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state command, Clement Adoda, confirmed the story of the fire outbreak, but said that the police were still investigating the actual cause and would not depend on the candlelight rumour.

However, two weeks on, such investigation is yet to be made public. Acting spokesman of the state police command, Ayodele Lanade stated that the police high command in the state is still waiting for the DPO of Iyaganku police station to turn in its report to the command for action. “I am conscious of the comment of the DC Adoda. When incidents like this happen, we normally await briefing from the DPO of the affected police station and in this instance; the DPO is yet to tell the police high command because if that has been done, you would have heard from us.

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