No fewer than 42 shops at the Student Centre of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State, have been gutted by fire, leading to the loss of property worth millions of naira.
The Block D shops that were destroyed were located behind the female hostel at the Yelwa campus of the institution.
The shops destroyed were computer business centres, barbing salons and provision stores.
The fire, which was said to have started around 2am on Wednesday in one of the shops, was reportedly caused by an electrical fault.
A source said, “I learnt that when the fire started, they alerted the university fire service, but they said that the battery of the truck was faulty. They said they’ve reported to the management for a release of money for it to be fixed or for a new one to be bought, but nothing was done.
“They also contacted the Federal Fire Service. It’s unfortunate that because of the ineffectiveness of the fire service, this damage happened. I believe that if there were firefighters, the fire would have been put out and property would have been saved.”
One of the victims of the incident, Pastor Alfred Joseph, who owned a computer business centre, said he was called by a friend and told that his shop was affected.
“I am not currently in Bauchi. I travelled to Abuja and a friend called me this morning to inform me of the incident. He told me that everything in my shop was burnt.
“All my property, including photocopiers, computers, laptops, printers, stationery, generator and everything I had in that shop was destroyed. It’s unfortunate,” he said.
Joseph said losing a six-year business was painful, pathetic and heart-breaking.
Another shop owner, Hosea Mathias, said he got a call around 4am on Wednesday from someone informing him that his shop was on fire.
He said he was informed that the fire was caused by an electrical fault.
“By the time I got there later in the morning, I discovered that all the shops were burnt down.
“I lost everything I had in my shop: computers, printers, furniture, generator, stationery, POS machines and a lot of things,” he added.