Calamity befell Koko town in the Koko Local Government Area of Kebbi State after a couple, Kehinde and Kehinde Sarafa, were burnt to death in a fire that gutted their apartment.
The couple’s three children, Abdullahi (male, four years old); Alimat (female, three years old) and Moriam (female, one year old), were also reportedly burnt beyond recognition.
PUNCH Metro gathered from friends and family members of the victims that Kehinde, aka Lasisi, had been living with his family in Sokoto State, where he worked as a digital photo printer.
He was said to have moved to Koko, Kebbi State, after securing appointment with a top-flight company.
Our correspondent learnt that after about four months of shuttling from Sokoto where his family was, and Kebbi, the place of his new job, he decided to relocate his wife and children to his two-bedroomed flat in Koko.
The 38-year-old reportedly turned on his generator on Monday and went to sleep with his family.
However, around 1.30am on Tuesday when the electricity distribution company restored power, there was said to have been an explosion in the meter, which resulted in the fire.
Lasisi’s elder brother, Tajudeen Abdulsalam, said residents couldn’t save the victims due to the intensity of the inferno.
He said, “He was formerly based in Sokoto before he got a job in Koko. On Sunday, he went to pick his family members in Sokoto to live with him. He had been living alone in Koko until then. They had just spent one day together in the house when the incident happened.
“He was probably trying to make them comfortable by turning on the generator in the evening. I think he had not been using the generator before then, and because of that, he did not detect that the generator and regular electricity wires were not appropriately separated.
“By the time power was restored, he was asleep, but the generator was still running. So, there might have been a jam between the generator and the regular power, which resulted in the fire. By the time they woke up, the flames had blocked their exit route. They cried for help, but people could not gain access to the place.
“Their neighbours tried to force the door open and even removed the windows, but it was all in vain, until the time they stopped calling for help.”
He described the late Lasisi as “simple, kind, generous and obedient.”
Abdulsalam said the victims were buried in the town in accordance with Islamic rites, adding that the family could not identify the corpses because they were burnt beyond recognition.
PUNCH Metro learnt that policemen from the Koko division visited the scene after the case was reported to them.
Lasisi’s twin brother, Taiwo, said he spoke with him a few hours to the incident without any foreboding.
“I spoke with him around 7.30pm that evening. He told me that they still had some of their property in Sokoto. Even my wife spoke with his wife, Kehinde, around 8.30pm the same evening. It was around 2.30am that one of their neighbours called me to say there was a fire incident and they all died. Only their apartment was affected. We are in shock because nobody expected it,” he said.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Kehinde worked with Spectrum Digital Lab in Sokoto from September 2015 to sometime in September 2016, when he relocated to Koko.
A former co-worker and family friend, Bayode Oluwaseyi, described him as a diligent man who went through a lot of difficulty before having a breakthrough.
“He had been in the industry from the analogue to the digital era, and he contributed a lot to the photo printing world. After all the problems he went through before the breakthrough in September, it was unfortunate this tragedy befell him and his family members,” he said.
Meanwhile, there has been an outpour of emotion from friends and family members who paid tribute to his memory on his Facebook page.
One Afonja Adedolapo, said, “This is so sad! I can’t help but wonder what life is even all about. A generation (died), in a day and at the same time! Oh Jesus, may their souls rest in perfect peace and may Almighty God forgive their shortcomings and grant them heaven.”
Another friend, Abolaji Kabeer, said, “We were together with his family last Saturday. May your gentle souls rest in peace.”
The Kebbi State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mustapha Suleiman, said the victims were killed by fire from a high power voltage.
He said, “What happened was that the family was asleep when power was restored. However, because it was high power voltage, there was an electrical problem, which started the fire. All the family members were killed.” (Punchng.com)