…Incident blamed on insecurity.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The fire disaster incident, which destroyed properties quantified at N500 million at Saint Peter’s Minor Seminary, Katari, in Kagarko LGA of Kaduna State, has been blamed on insecurity ravaging the state.
Rector of the school, Rev. Fr. Sati Edward, who disclosed this at the school premises Thursday, while carrying out on-the-spot assessment tour of the incidents with newsmen, said the school has not been in sessions for over two years.
The Rector, who could not ascertain the causes of the fire incident, said he was in the school premises between 10:30 and 11am Tuesday and left for Kaduna main town before the news of the fire incident got to him.
“When I rushed back, I still met the fire in flames. When we tried to fix one with Bishop, we saw the other side in flames. Up till now, I still cannot be certain about the causes of the fire, but I believe it started slightly from the back side of the building where we could see the bush burnt over there and spread to the school.
“Around 12, I got a call that the hostels of the seminary were on fire. I immediately put a call to the Bishop to let him know of the incident. At that time I was in Kaduna Town.
“Immediately I put off the call, I rushed to the seminary; at that time the youth of the area were already there trying to put off the fire, but it was so serious that there was nothing they could do. The Archbishop later came,” he said.
“For over two years, the students have not been there in the school because of insecurity. If they were there, perhaps it wouldn’t have happened or, it would have been put off by the students,” he lamented.
He also said people that were living around the school environment have packed and went to main town because they were told that the place was no long save, adding that, if they were around, the incident would’ve been prevented too.
According to him, some blocks of buildings were seriously ravaged by the fire, the sources of which were still unknown to them. “We lost four blocks, 2 hostels, the laboratory blocks and a host of others,” the Rector noted.
The Kaduna Archdiocese Education Secretary, Mr. John O., who was also in company of Rev Fr Edward, described the incident as shocking.
“The entire diocese is still living in shock and surprises. It’s like from frying pan to the fire,” he said, adding that the diocese decided to relocate the students to other seminaries, in order not to risk their lives because of insecurity, only to hear about the fire incident.
While he described the fire incident as “colossal loss to the diocese,” he said all the facilities and buildings of the school are insured in insurance company with Bishop of the Archdiocese.
The Director Social Communications of Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Stephen Onyema, also told journalists that they were in the school to assess the fire incident and see the level of damage.
He said after being taken round the affected facilities by Rector of the school, they discovered that the fire incident was a huge loss to the dioceses, but thanked God that no life was lost.
He called on spirited individuals and corporate organizations interested in education to come to their aide for the institution to come back in place before the resumption of the students after the insecurity fire may have been extinguished.