From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Fire yesterday gutted Benue State Government House damaging some section as well as cutting electric supply to Governor Samuel Orton’s office.
The incident occurred barely two days after the governor departed the state to Israel to render prayers for his reelection The incident paralyzed activities within the complex and forced staff of the complex to abandon their duty post.
However, no life was reportedly lost but several important items were damaged.
It was gathered that, the fire started at around 1pm from the generator room located around the account section within the Government House complex.
An eye-witness and staff of Government House administration who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent, that the fire started when a thick fume was seen emanating from the generator room close to the accounts section that shares fence with the state assembly complex.
According to him, the incident was caused by a faulty electrical connection within the accounts section, adding that the level of damage was not too much even as it took the combined efforts of workers and the State Fire Service stationed in the complex to put out the fire.
“The electric armoured wires supplying light to the account section, the main governor’s office to the governor’s lodge, were completely burnt down.” he stated.
Another staff told our correspondent that she was eating in her office where she heard other staff shouting for help, calling for fire fighters.
“This is a great lost to the state government because the whole generator sets were burnt to ashes and that is the only source that supply light to the entire Government House complex , down to the governor’s lodge”, the source said.
Confirming the incident, the Permanent Secretary Government Administration, Mr. Iangba Gabriel, said that the firebreak did not extend to the main account, saying it was the generator plant which tried to malfunction but was immediately shutdown to avoid any damage.
“It was not a serious incident and no damage was done. Those things you saw around the area were debris around the generator room.
“People are calling me from Abuja including our people who went to EFCC office that they heard government house complex particularly the account section was set on fire. Infact, it was not true. The burnt wires and poles were properties of old Nitel not NEPA,” Iangba explained.