The acting Permanent Secretary of the Benue State Ministry of Science and Technology Sekegh Akaa was burnt to death alongside his pregnant wife and two children when a fire engulfed their Kwararafa Quarter home in Makurdi in the early hours of Monday.
According to an eyewitness, the fire began around 2.45am.
The real cause of the fire could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, but a neighbour, who simply identified herself as Josephine, told our correspondent that it might have been caused by an electrical fault.
The fire razed the entire house and extended to three other houses including that of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Religion Daniel Unongo.
Although firefighters fought hard to put out the fire and to save lives, the inferno raged on for a long time.
Josephine said, “Initially, when I heard of the cry of the woman in it took me sometime to muster courage to go out because I thought robbers had attacked the house.
“When I came out and saw a thick smoke from the same house, I shouted and this drew attention of other neighbours to what was going on.
“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 monumental disaster.
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 Rev 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 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.