15th May, 2012
Property worth millions of naira has been reported destroyed by fire at the St Benedict’s Catholic Cathedral, Ogoja in northern Cross River State.
A visiting Reverend Father sustianed serious injuries and has been hospitalised during the incident.
The one storey building which served as residential quarters for the Cathedral Administrator was completely razed down.
The Cathedral Administrator, Rev. Father George Chokpa, told P.M.NEWS in Ogoja that the incident occurred at about 9am on Sunday when he and other priests had left to a nearby town for a retreat, leaving the visiting priest who was on his way to another town, at home.
He said that the priest had noticed smoke in his apartment on the first floor and came out only to be overwhelmed by fire which had engulfed the entire corridor and other rooms.
In an attempt to escape his clothes caught fire and the priest suffered severe burns.
“He was eventually rescued through the window with the aid of a ladder,” Chokpa said.
The Cathedral Administrator said he lost every possession he acquired for about thrity years of priesthood including certificates and books.
He however said he gives glory to God for sparing the life of the priest who was at home during the incident.
Assessing the disaster, the Director-General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. Vincent Aquah sympathised with the priest and the entire Catholic faithful in Ogoja over the incident and promised that government would intervene.
The Director-General was represented by an Assistant Director in the Agency, Mr. David Akate.