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Boxing Day tragedy: Enugu couple cry for help as fire engulfs 13-year-old son

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
19 January 2023   |   3:55 am
An Enugu-based couple, Mr. and Mrs. Chukwuma Okaria, have cried out to government and good-spirited individuals as their son, Chukwuzitere, battles for life at National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu.

An Enugu-based couple, Mr. and Mrs. Chukwuma Okaria, have cried out to government and good-spirited individuals as their son, Chukwuzitere, battles for life at National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu.

Chukwuzitere, an SSI student of Uwani Boys Secondary School, Enugu, left the house on Boxing Day with a few of his friends, but little did he know that life would turn around for him in such a harsh way.

His father, who was devastated, told journalists that he was away working when he received a call that something was wrong at home.

“My wife called me and was crying on the phone, that Chukwuzitere is in danger. I just ended the call and ran home. When I got to the house, I saw that my son had been totally burnt; he was in pain, he could not talk. We rushed him to the Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, where he was admitted to the Emergency Unit. By God’s grace, he is out of the ICU, and is now at the ward in the hospital”, he said.

When asked what led to the incident, Mr. Chukwuma said eyewitnesses revealed that a child of another neighbour threw a knockout on his son, Chukwuzitere while he was putting on an entertainment masquerade for the Boxing Day at the Chief Ekwueme Street, in Uwani, Enugu.

“I was told that as soon as he threw the knockout on him, it exploded and burst into flames. My son started running with the fire looking for help until he fell down. I learnt that people who saw what was happening chased after him with buckets of water. However, by the time the fire was put out, the entire masquerade clothes were burnt completely on his body. He was totally burnt.”

Although he expressed gratitude to God that his son is still alive, Mr. Chukwuma said the medical bill is too much on the family.

“Apart from the bill that was given to us when we left the Emergency Unit, we have been paying N20, 000 (Twenty thousand naira) every two days for dressing; this is excluding the money for drugs. We were moved from the Emergency Unit to the ward and that is where we are now. It is too much on my wife and I,” he said in tears, adding: “I do menial jobs, while my wife runs a tea and bread fast-food joint at Eze Street, Uwani.

“We are now completely drained; we are confused right now. Our appeal to the government and Nigerians is to please come to our aid and save my son. We need financial help and no amount is too small. We are still at the ward of the Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu. We can be reached through my phone number: 07043993752, or my Account Number: OKARIA ISRAEL- 2053502487, BANK- UBA.”