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Akwa Ibom : Early morning inferno renders thousands homeless


An early fire outbreak in a Yoruba fishing settlement in Iwokpom community, Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom state has rendered thousands homeless.

The fire outbreak that occurred early yesterday morning destroyed over 300 houses and outboard engines as well as goods worth millions of Naira.

An eyewitness, Funke Awolabi told The Guardian that the fire started at exactly 12:30 am and destroyed all the fishes, houses, outboard engines and other valuables including undisclosed cash owned by residents in the settlement. Another victim simply identified as Bimbo said she was in church when they called to inform that her house was on fire. She said she rushed back home to see her house burning while she watched helplessly.

Conducting newsmen round the scene of the incident, Vice Chairman, Ibeno local government, Sunday Etor Isokobo said he got a distress call from one of the victims at around 1:05 am. Isokobo said over 200 wooden houses, 50 blockhouses, outboard engines owned by fishermen and fishes worth several millions of Naira were completely burnt. He said the cause of the fire was not known as residents attributed it to an electrical fault while some suspected women who smoke fish in the settlement. 

Isokobo urged the government and every well-meaning individual including corporate organizations to rise up and bring succour to the victims. Special Assistant to the Chairman of Ibeno local government on non-indigene matters, Foli Ogungbemi said the fishing settlement is predominantly made up of Yoruba people with few Ibeno people living there. He lamented that some residents travelled and would be stranded when they returned.

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