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Catholic priest’s family N100 m property gutted by fire in Anambra

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By Phil Okose, Onitsha

Family house of Rev. Father Joseph Merry Okafor, a Catholic priest on a missionary work in Chad, have been gutted by fire at his country home, Ukunu village, Agulu in Anaocha local government area of Anambra state.

The incident which occurred Monday morning, according to family source, led to destruction of property worth N100 million, leaving the entire family homeless.

Orient Daily gathered that the fire allegedly caused by power surge started at about 8am that fateful Monday when only the octogenarian mother of the priest at home and by the time residents arrived the scene, the inferno had escalated and damaged the property.

The priest’s elder brother, Mr. Hyacinth Uche Okafor, told this paper from his base in Onitsha that efforts to salvage the family property failed. He recalled that:  “I was in Onitsha when I was called on Monday morning around 8am that our family house  was on fire and before I came the entire building has been burnt to ashes. I saw the fire service men but they could not do anything because by the time they arrived the entire thing has been burnt to ashes”.

“All properties were burnt to ashes, the house was built in triangular form with about four flats and each flat of four-bed room, has a car park. We lost over N100 million in the fire incident”, he adds.

On the cause of the fire, Mr. Okafor said it was high voltage of electricity that sparked off fire from one of the flats. “My mother told me that she heard a sound that fell like a mango and as she hurried to the mango tree inside our compound to pick it, she discovered that it was the electric cables that sparked off fire from one of the flats and she started shouting for help.

“Incidentally, there was nobody in the house when it happened except my mother out of seven of us, six boys and a girl, because it was a market day (Afor) and Chrism mass was being observed too.

On why nothing was salvaged from the house, he disclosed that, “most of the rooms were under lock and key so the whole thing got burnt including the certificates, books and other things belonging to my brother, a catholic priest who is on a missionary work in Chad. His room and those of us got burnt to ashes”.

He further claimed that over N6 million he kept in hard currency inside his room also got burnt including their wedding certificates and other valuable properties. “I had to take my mother to Onitsha to stay with me because sympathisers are trouping in to have a glimpse of the burnt property and it is causing her High Blood Pleasure (HBP),” he adds, while appealing to the Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano and other good spirited individuals and organisations to assist the family in reconstructing the burnt family house. “Please come to our rescue as we are now homeless,” he adds.

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