Tears as 11 year old student dies in Patterson Grammar school, Awada, Onitsha fire

Burnt Hostel of Patterson Memorial Hostel

Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
It was tears all over by the Proprietor and students of Patterson Grammar school, Awada, Onitsha Anambra state as one of the students’ hostel went up in flames killing an 11 year old student Chigozie Anyichie. The school is owned by Anglican diocese on the Niger.

Burnt Hostel of Patterson Memorial    Hostel
Burnt Hostel of Patterson Memorial Hostel

Anambra state Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Abang, while commiserating with the family of the deceased and ordered a thorough investigation into the incident. PPRO Mohammed Haruna stated this in a press statement in Awka last Sunday.

According to Haruna, the incident was reported by the school Principal, Rev. Cajetan Anuforo, who said a section of the school dormitory was destroyed, and that the incident happened when the students were out in the field for night prayers.

He informed that the fire when eventually put off by staff and students of the school, discovered that Chigozie Anyichie, who did not go out with other students for the prayers, was caught up in the inferno. The deceased was burnt beyond recognition.

Police detectives led by the Divisional Police Officer, Awada Division, CSP Tony Adeyi visited the scene and took the victim to the hospital where he was certified dead by a medical doctor.

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The corpse has been deposited at the mortuary for a post-mortem examination. The cause of the fire and value of property destroyed had not been ascertained.

Meanwhile, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has described the recent burning of the hostel of Patterson Grammar school, Awada, Onitsha, as a national calamity which should be treated as such.

Obi said this during his visit to the school soon after the fire incident that gutted one of their hostels and claimed the life of one of the students.

The former Anambra State Governor said he had watched with sadness where incidents that did not have much impact were designated as “national calamities”, while the country’s leaders do not view the burning of schools with the seriousness it deserves. He observed that if it were to be in countries that knew the value of education, all manner of organisations would have visited the school and offered their support.

While donating the initial sum of a million Naira as support for the rebuilding of the school, Obi promised that he would come back to offer more assistance.

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Earlier, Obi had visited Ekwulumili to condole with the families of one of the students that lost his life in the inferno.

In his remarks, the Bishop on the Niger, Most Rev. Owen Nwokolo, represented by the principal of the school, Rev. Dr. Cajetan Anuforo, thanked Obi for his consistent love and support for education nationwide.

\While urging other Nigerians to emulate his life of service, he beckoned on him to assist in bringing the issue of Merritt at the front burner of the national consciousness.

As well as, the Anambra State Government has consoled the Management of Patterson Memorial Grammar School, off Onitsha-Owerri Road, Awada and the family of the student who died in a fire incident that gutted the school hostel, last Sunday.

According to eyewitness account, the fire started around 10pm on Sunday night just as the students returned to the school after the yuletide holidays.
The fire incident which burnt down the hostel and facilities claimed the life of one Chinagorom.

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Governor Willie Obiano represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, at the scene of the fire expressed shock over the level of the damage and thanked God that ninety-nine percent of the students were not at the hostel when the fire started.

He consoled the Anglican Communion and the family of the deceased, praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable lost.
The Governor said that the state government will put necessary measures in place to ensure that such ugly incident does not repeat itself again in schools and assured that the state government will assist the school to rebuild the hostel.

Receiving the Governor, the Anglican Bishop on the Niger, the Right Reverend Owen Nwokolo who spoke through Reverend Canon Beluchukwu Nwankwo thanked the Governor for his concern over the incident and appealed for interventions for both parents and school management to restore the school back to its original shape.

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