Recently, a family of seven was involved in an inferno few days after it christened a new born baby. Tunde Ogunesan reports how it all happened.

THE arrival of a new born baby is usually greeted with joy and funfair. That so, also was the situation when a family in Oluyoro, Ibadan, Oyo State, was blessed with a new baby, Mueez Raji. Family and friends who came to celebrate the joy of the new born baby had left, with only the grandmother and two cousins of the head of the family left, which increased the number of the household of Mr Raji Kehinde to seven.

Thirteen days after Mueez?s christening, precisely on August 16, 2012, the entire household went to bed after the day?s dinner, leaving a lantern behind in the sitting room. According to one of the victims, ?the lantern in the sitting room caught fire five minutes after we had gone to sleep?. Efforts to rescue all the seven occupants in the room- Kehinde Raji; Mueez; Fatimoh Raji; Sariyu Olabanji (grandmother); Farouk and Fawaz Raji (elder brothers of the new baby) and Raji?s sister?s child, was unsuccessful as the entire household had been held back in the inferno for few minutes.

Efforts of good Samaritans to rescue them proved abortive. The doors could not be forced open immediately. When eventually rescued, all of them were severely burnt. By the time the victims were taken to the hospital-University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Baby Mueez had passed on; 13 days after the world celebrated his birth.

Few days after, two other victims; the father, Raji and one of his sons, Farouk; also died. With three of the victims? dead, efforts to save the lives of the remaining four, who are currently on oxygen at the UCH, Ibadan, aside the emotional stress, have drained the purse of the other members of the family.

The burnt roomThe burnt room

In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, two members of Raji?s family, Idowu and Olabanji, said the family members had spent all their savings and appealed to Nigerians to come to their aid.

In an emotion laden voice, Idowu said, ?Since our joy has turned sour, we want merciful Nigerians to come to our aid. And now, things are getting worse because my brother is dead now after the new baby had passed on, so also one of the brothers of the baby.

?We cannot just quantify the loss. Our grandmother is now reeling in pains. Every member of the family has been running helter skelter to see that they contribute to the medical expenses. We want to appeal to Nigerians to come to our aid. We have lost three of them; we don?t plan to lose anymore. I know Nigerians can help end our plight by assisting us.

?We have been borrowing, hoping to repay after the treatment but the bill keeps on rising. That?s why we?re appealing for cash donations to cushion the effect of the bill. The father of the house is dead, 13-day-old baby and one of the children. Others that are not dead are living on oxygen, their treatment cannot be delayed, that?s why we?re soliciting for assistance,? she said.

Olabanji appealed to the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to help the family. ?At this juncture, I want to appeal to Oyo State Government to help save the lives of the remaining four at the UCH now. We don?t wish to lose any of them again.?

Any assistance can be sent to this account: Olufemi Shotola 0120027578, Wema Bank, Agodi branch, Ibadan.

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