UNILAG convocation tragedy: Shehu of Borno loses brother in fire

• Another shot dead at varsity main gate

By Gabriel Dike and Itoro Godwin

The 48th convocation ceremonies of the University of Lagos (Unilag) ended on a tragic note when Mallam Abbah Kyari, former Borno State Auditor General (AG), brother of the new Chancellor of the University and Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar El-Ekanemi, burnt to death in an early hour Wednesday fire at the institution’s Guest House.

Another person was allegedly shot dead in front of the university main gate by security personnel after a disagreement.

Daily Sun gathered that the early Wednesday inferno burnt Kyari, who was part of the entourage of the new chancellor.

The corpse of the former AG has been taken to Borno State for burial while others that were injured trying to escape the fire are being treated at an undisclosed hospital.

According to a source, who is a senior management staff, the late Kyari died around 2:00am on Wednesday, when there was a power surge in room A812 where he lodged at the guest house.

“The death occurred very early on Wednesday morning at the guest house. The inferno also gutted four other rooms A813, A814, A815 and A816. However, there was another angle to what caused the fire, as some staff alleged it was as a result of an ‎unquenched lit cigarette.

“The new chancellor had arrived the university at about 5:00pm on Tuesday and was lodged at the chancellor’s residence behind  the lagoon, but, when the place could not accommodate all his entourage, Kyari, and others, were taken to the guest house where the sad incident occurred…”

The senior staff told Daily Sun that the corpse has been flown back to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital‎ for burial.

As at the time of filing this report, the university management and the palace of the Shehu of Borno kept mum over the fire tragedy.

A staff at the university’s Information Unit said the institution has not issued any statement on the incident, hence he couldn’t  speak to newsmen.

When Daily Sun visited the guest house, situated opposite the Faculty of Business Administration, staff were seen cleaning the affected rooms while there was no sign of restoration of power to the entire area.

A staff disclosed that, about 12 people on the entourage of the Shehu of Borno were in the affected rooms when the fire started around 2:00am that day and that some of them escaped through the windows while others managed to run through the door.

It took over three hours for staff and UNILAG fire fighters to bring the inferno under control and at the end, Kyari’s charred body was found in Room A812 while the injured were first rushed to the university clinic.

Daily Sun saw burnt mattresses, pillows, beds, AC, chairs and tables in the rooms with Room A812, where Kyari lodged, was badly hit, as everything in it was burnt to ashes.

Confirming the incident, the South-west Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency  (NEMA), Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, said although four guest rooms were involved, only one of the occupants died.

Speaking through the zonal spokesperson, Ibrahim Farinloye, the coordinator said the deceased died of suffocation.

Security personnel broke the sad news to the Vice Chancellor, Prof Rahamon Bello who, in turn, informed the Pro-chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Jerry Gana.

Bello, in response to the incident through a text message said ‘’a press release will be issued on the fire incident soon.

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