REPORTER: CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
Authorities of Caritas University, Amorji-Nike, Enugu, say the fire emanating from a gas leak at the premises of the institution has stopped mysteriously.
The gas leak, which ignited the fire that caused panic among residents of the area has also stopped.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Michael Uchenna Oji, who confirmed the development during a visit to the site on Wednesday, said the fire stopped on its own after several weeks of efforts by experts and relevant government agencies to put out the fire.
He said the incident occurred when a bore hole was being drilled and suddenly noticed unusual gas leakage, which forced the contractors to pull out their drilling rig and thereafter fire sprout out of the place, defying all measures to quench it until it passed out on its own accord.
Professor Orji confirmed that no fatality was recorded as a result of the incident and commended relevant government agencies, including the State Goverment for working hard to ensure that the fire was contained.
“Every human effort to put off the light could not stop it, while we were still brainstorming, it was reported that the fire went off on its own,” he said.
In a speech, the Enugu State Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Greg Nnaji, said government moved in immediately it got report of the fire and ensured lives and property of the citizens were protected.
Giving expert view on the situation, the Chief Executive Director, Nigerian Petroleum Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, represented by the South East Director of the agency, said the well had been properly secured while samples had been collected for further investigations to ascertain the volume of hydrocarbon deposit in the area.
He explained that on receipt of the report, NUPRC alongside other related agencies immediately carried out an investigation and discovered that the incident happened in the process of drilling a water well.
Mr. Komolafe equally confirmed that there was no pipeline right of way in the area and that the incident was caused by the activities of some contractors, who were drilling a water borehole in the premises of the University.
“The well is properly secured now. There is need for further investigation. In fact, samples have been collected for further analysis and investigations to get more data for proper analysis,” he said.
Several efforts of the State and Federal Fire Service, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other experts to put off the fire failed until the evening of Tuesday June 14, when the fire quietly went off on its own accord.
The Pro-chancellor of the University, Dr. Martin Anagboso, who first noticed the fire said the institution made sure the fire did not spread to other parts of the community.
Top officials of regulatory agencies in charge of petroleum products, alongside the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Comrade Chris Isiguzo were present during the briefing.
EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU