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WIDOW, 2 BUSINESS PARTNERS LOSE FORTUNES TO MORNING FIRE

By NBF News
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• Part of the burnt house.
Residents of House No. 8, Ugwuogbu Street off Mayor Bus-stop, Agbani Road, Enugu are now licking their wounds after a morning fire destroyed their household items and articles of trade.

Heavily affected are a middle-age woman, Mrs Philomena Nnamani and Mr Sunday Okeke and Ben Nwogu, chairman and secretary of Ndubuisi Cooperative Association.

For Mrs Nnamani who hails from Obe in the Nkanu area of Enugu State when her husband died in 2008, she was left with five children to single-handedly take care of.

Since then she has continued to train them as a single parent. Mrs Nnamani had used part of her apartment at No. 8 Ugwuogbu Street as a prayer house while the rest served as her home. She looked helpless as she narrated her ordeal to Daily Sun recently.

According to her, she had gone to commiserate with a neighbour who had just lost her husband, saying that she was not around and therefore could not tell what happened exactly.

Her words: 'I went to commiserate with a neighbour who just lost her husband. I was there when message came that my house was on fire.

The news came as a shock and all I could say was to ask why. All my children, everybody had left the house that morning and nobody was around; by the time I got to the house I saw people gathered; that's all I can tell you; I wasn't around and my children were not at home too.

'However, there was a crowd gathered and they fought seriously and finally succeeded in putting out the fire. I have cried out my eyes, but what is done is done and I can tell you that we lost everything in that house. As you are seeing me, this clothes I am putting on is what is left, the same thing with my children.'

Mrs Nnamani listed items lost in the inferno to include standing fans, piano, amplifiers, loud speakers, refrigerator, televisions, beds, mattresses, clothes, documents.

It was, however, difficult to ascertain the cause of the fire, but neighbours attempted to link it to faulty electric appliances.

Mrs. Nnamani was not the only victim of that fire disaster that started at about 10:30 a.m. on that fateful Monday; her neighbours who run a soap factory, Ndubuisi Cooperative Association, are also in pains over the havoc wreaked by the fire, making them to now appeal for assistance from both government and well meaning individuals.

The Ndubuisi Cooperative Association was formed in June 2009 by 10 entrepreneurs who pooled resources together to float the soap factory.

The duo of Okeke and Nwogu told Daily Sun that among the property destroyed in their factory was machines, which are used in production, as well as materials that had been purchased with loans from both individuals and a micro finance bank.

'We borrowed money from the micro finance bank close to us here as well as some other financial agencies. The business has been doing well except that for some time we have had some setback due to financial constraints. As a matter of fact we have been trying to source funds in order to push the business forward, but all the efforts now appear to have been shattered by this fire incident.

'It is a serious setback and that is why we are calling on the state government led by Barrister Sullivan Chime to rescue us from this 'shadow of death.' We need government assistance to save our families and to see that this vision does not die just like that,' they begged.

On the items lost to the fire incident, they noted that about three or four machines in their production unit were destroyed.

'One of the machines is N2.9 million plus a panel that controls all the machines which costs about N1.8 million. All these have gone down the drain and unless there is assistance from somewhere that factory may have become history due to the fire disaster,' the chairman and secretary, who put their loss to the fire disaster at over N8 million, said.