Tragedy: Perm Sec and family burnt to death in Benue

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From BERNICE EKE, Abuja

Sekegh Akaa, the acting Permanent Secretary of the Benue State Ministry of Science and Technology has been killed alongside his pregnant wife and two children when a fire engulfed their home in Kwararafa Quarter in Makurdi in the early hours of Monday.

The fire began around 2.45 am, an eyewitness said.

The real cause of the fire could not be discovered as at when filing this report, but a neighbour, who identified herself as Josephine, said that it might have been caused by an electrical fault.

The fire dismantled the entire house and extended to three other houses including that of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Religion, Daniel Unongo.

Although firemen tried so hard to put out the fire and to save lives, all to no avail.

Josephine said, “Initially when I heard the cry of the woman, I took some time to summon the courage to go out because I thought robbers had attacked the house.

“When I came out and saw a cloud of thick smoke from the same house, I shouted and this drew the attention of other neighbours to the scene.

“Immediately, one of the neighbours made a phone call to the fire service and within a short time they rushed to the scene.”

The Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, who visited the scene, expressed his shock at the incident, describing it as a massive disaster.

Governor Abounu said the state had lost a prized asset in Akaa and prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

He said, “We cannot undo what has happened. At the moment, the government will take responsibility for their burial and also assist the other families who lost property to relocate.”

The late permanent secretary’s brother Reverend Favour Akaa said they attended a retreat at ECWA Church in Makurdi at the weekend.

He said he had a conversation with his brother on Sunday night about a certain transaction he was scheduled to do on Monday but preferred to do it on Sunday.

Favour said, “He told me that his heart could not rest until he had done the transaction. It is a wonderful thing to spend 48 hours with God. His death is a strength to us. It is time for him to depart and we give glory to God.”

It was learnt that Akaa was due to be confirmed as Permanent Secretary before his death.

Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has said he is saddened by Akaa’s death According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor consoled the deceased’s friends and relations.

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