By Sunmola Olowookere
May 19, 2022 will remain unforgettable in the minds of Micheal Asupo, a Calabar indigene and the residents of Jerusalem Avenue, Onimalu Community, off Davog, Ijoka road, Akure as a three bedroom flat along with its boys quarter was burnt down on Thursday last week by suspected arsonists.
Cross section of residents interviewed by our reporter stated that it could be a case of arson as all indications point towards it.
The building including the furniture and other property in the house were consumed by the raging inferno before the fire service arrived about an hour after the fire started.
When our reporter visited the scene, all that were left of a well furnished apartment were smouldering debris with the roofing sheets strewn all over the ground.
Impeccable sources believed that some disgruntled elements were behind the crime and had wet the house with petrol before setting it on fire.
It was equally observed that despite the rain in the evening and overnight, the debris still shouldered the next morning.
The fire began like a joke in the late afternoon as neighbours began to perceive smoke and fire coming out of the building around 4 p,m and had called the owner who was a trader selling articles at Oba Adesida road.
All efforts made by residents to quench the fire were futile as it continued unabated.
Eventually, the landlord came along with men of the fire service and the fire was eventually curtailed from spreading to other buildings nearby. However, the building itself was razed to the ground and the walls stood in clumps as it had broken into segments.
The owner of the building along with his wife were beside themselves with grief and tried to go into the smouldering building but they were held down by well meaning neighbours.
The owner of the house along with his wife were taken to a neighbour house as nothing; not even an article of clothing could be salvaged from the fire and they were left with nothing but the clothes on them.
Onlookers and residents felt that they could not be left alone until their families came so that they would not harm themselves out of grief.
The next day, the landlord, Michael Asupo was somewhat calm and was able to speak with our reporter with some level of composure.
His words ” I was at the shop around 4 p. m yesterday when I received a call from my neighbour that fire was burning my home.
“There was no light so it could not have been an electrical fault. My neighbours told me that they saw two boys jumped into the building over the fence. They took my soup which I kept in the fridge out of the building through the back window and ate it outside.
“They packed my electronics and stabilizer and left it outside at the back of the building probably with the plan of carting them away when they left. But they could not go along with it as my neighbours saw them coming out of the back window and chased them”
He said that they had used fuel to wet the house and that he had discovered a “strange keg” at his backyard, when asked if he had any evidence that the arsonists used fuel to wet the house.
He said that the neighbours told him that when they tried to douse the fire, it kept spreading uncontrollably which made them to realize that fuel was used on the house.
Asupo stated that nothing was salvaged from the fire as they all got consumed which included his cargo of articles which he was supplied and had kept inside the house.
He said that the supply consumed by fire ran into millions of naira.
He however stated that he did not suspect anybody over the arson as he only lived with his wife having relieved two men that were working with him before over stealing among other inappropriate behaviours.
He however hoped that as soon as he reports to the police, the mystery behind the arson would be unravelled.
He disclosed that as his neighbours pursued the two boys that were seen jumping out of the back window, their bags fell to the ground and two phones were recovered from the bag.
He called on government and well meaning Nigerians to help him in rebuilding the house.
While sharing what he went through in the process of completing the house, he said that he was on the construction of the building for about seven years and only finished it ten years ago, 2012 when he packed into the building.
As at the time of filing this report, he disclosed that he would be going to Ala police station in Akure to make a report of the incident.
Unconfirmed sources in the community has it that some of the sale boys who were disgruntled at how they were sacked were the ones responsible for the arson.
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