A fire has destroyed 42 stores at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University’s Student Centre in Bauchi State, resulting in the loss of property worth millions of naira.
The Block D stores that were damaged were behind the female hostel on the institution’s Yelwa campus.
Computer business centers, barbershops, and convenience stores were among the businesses destroyed.
An electrical fault is said to have started the fire, which started around 2 a.m. on Wednesday in one of the shops.
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.