Barely a week after superintending the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections in Kano State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Alhaji Munkaila Abdullahi, wife and two daughters were yesterday killed by a strange fire that engulfed his residence.
Those who witnessed the incident said that the inferno erupted in the early hours of yesterday morning at his Commissioner kano-fireRoad residence near the state government house within Kano metropolis when the family was asleep. Mysteriously, the fire only destroyed his sitting room while his bedroom was intact before help came.
According to neighbours of the deceased who declined to be named, they were woken by shouts of “fire! fire!!” and had to rush to the scene to help the REC’s security guards who were already attempting to put off the fire by pouring water on the affected areas.
The sources revealed that corpses of the REC and his family were not burnt by the fire, which led to speculations that they might have been killed by smoke inhalation while asleep.
“It spread to the air-conditioning system but nothing happened to his body and that of his wife and children. Only seats and other things in the parlour were burnt. For now we don’t know anything other than that,” he said.
Although the Kano State Director of Fire Service, Alhaji Balarabe Abu Kabara, who confirmed the incident told newsmen that the fire emanated from a generator set at the back of the house, some people were of the opinion that since their bodies were not burnt, something else and not the fire must have caused their death.
They reasoned that since they were all found dead in the bedroom that was not burnt, security agencies should not rule out sabotage considering the status of the man in the society and carry out thorough investigation on the matter.
“The security men who were found trying to salvage the situation before help could come should also be properly investigated since they were supposed to be the last contacts with the man and his family before they went to bed and should be aware of happenings around the house while they slept”, one of residents of the area said.
Efforts to hear the accounts of the security guards failed as they were said to have been taken away by the police who are grilling them as the time of filling this report.
Meanwhile, corpses of the REC and his family have been moved to his hometown Dutse, the Jigawa State capital for burial after the Jumma’at (Friday) prayer.
Speaking with our correspondent on telephone, INEC’s Public Relations Officer for Kano State, Garba Lawan Muhammad, further confirmed the tragedy saying, “we are on our way right now to take his remains and that of members of his family to his Dutse residence where funeral will take place after the Friday prayers.”
“After his death, we reported to the Commissioner of Police and Director of Directorate of State Security Services here. All of them went to the house and did their jobs and we are waiting for the outcome of the investigations,” he added.