Some female students of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto reportedly jumped down from the first floor of a hostel accommodation which was gutted by fire last Monday.
The hostel was named after Nana Asma’u, the daughter of the founding father of the Sokoto Caliphate, Sheikh Usmanu bin Fodiyo.
According to eye witness accounts, the fire started from a gas cooker being used by one of the female students.
Daily Trust learnt that the students had put on the gas before realising that her box of matches was missing.
“She forgot to put off the gas before leaving the room to borrow a lighter from her neighbour and when she lit the lighter, the whole room was engulfed by fire and within the twinkle of an eye, the fire spread to other rooms.
“The girl and two other ladies in the room sustained serious burnt injuries and were first taken to the school clinic before being referred to university’s teaching hospital for advanced treatment,” one of the female students said.
Another eye witness, Aminatu, told Daily Trust that the fire started around 7am and lasted till 9am before it was put off. “We were terrified because the fire kept raging speedily; moving from one room to another.
“There was some sort of stampede because everyone ran out of their rooms at the same time. Some started jumping down from the storey building, and as a result one lady sustained spinal cord injury,” she said.
Another student, Khadija, told Daily Trust that a newly married lady had a miscarriage after jumping down from the building.
The hostel’s matron, Mrs Pauline Nzeh, said she was still not herself because of the shock.
“We have been warning them against using gas cooker, electric stove and heater but they don’t listen. We have been seizing these items but some would hide them and bring them out in the night,” she added.
The corridor of the hostel after the inferno
According to her, “the fire razed six rooms and toilets and three students were injured.
“Two of the students were treated and discharged while the owner of the gas cooker is still in the hospital,” she said.
“It was a terrible thing. We were very shocked seeing our students jumping down from upstairs.
“We really appreciate their colleagues who placed their mattresses on the ground for them to land on. That was why there was not much casualties,” she noted.
Mrs Nzeh added that, “We will now conduct wait and search at the entrance of the hostel to ensure that no gas cooker or any contraband item is brought into the hostel.”
She revealed that some of the female students have been reporting their colleagues who secretly use gas cooker since the outbreak.
The Dean Students Affairs, Professor Aminu Maude, said that a 7-man committee has been constituted to investigate the immediate cause of the fire, verify the losses and submit its report within two weeks.
One of the students, room after the fire
He said that the affected students have been relocated to other rooms and the school management has provided them with mattresses and pillows.
“Some of the students lost virtually everything and the committee will recommend the kind of support they need from the school,” he said.
Maude, who pleaded with the students to stop using gas cookers and other items barred by the school, revealed that only one student sustained injury as a result of the fire.
Source:- Daily Trust