. . . Black Friday at Loretto, School Run in Tears
By Chinecherem Efobi
The Best Secondary School in Nigeria, award winning Catholic Diocese of Awka owned Loretto Special Science School, Adazi-Nnukwu, was in tears last Friday 17th January 2020, as one of her biggest hostels with the capacity of about 100 students, got razed by fire.
School Run was there the morning after the unfortunate incident. During his interview with Fides School Run, the manager of the school, Rev. Fr. Francis Ude said that there was an inferno that started around 7pm when the students were done with their evening prayers, and were heading to the refectory. The dormitory is a little bit distant from the other parts of the school. He further said that initially it was reported that there were sounds of bulbs bursting, and probably there was power surge which affected the building.
He pointed out that he got a call from the school around 7:07pm, but by the time he came around, 50% of the hostel apartment had been damaged by fire. By then, concerned public were already in the compound and got across to the Anambra State Fire Service, which came about 30 minutes as the incident started. By then a lot of damage had been done. He thanked the Almighty God that no life was lost.
Fr Ude however drew positive lessons for the students from the sad fire event. If some of the students were in the hostel doing some other thing when others were praying, thereby being in a place where they were not expected to be at that particular point in time, something crazy must have happened to them by now.
The School Assistant Manager, Rev. Fr. Nwafor Emmanuel, while speaking to School Run, said that the school was in tears because of the students’ excessive loss of material and personal belongings. He further said that all the fire extinguisher cylinders in the school all got exhausted when trying to quench the fire but all to no avail. He pleaded with the Church, philanthropists, individuals and the government at large to help them out, because the school Loretto is the pride of Anambra state and Awka Diocese. He concluded by saying that once there is life, there is hope. Therefore the students who lost their properties should never panic for God is in control.
School Run when speaking to one of the students, Miss Igwilo Ujunwa from Umunze, who lost all her belongings like many others, cried loudly. She lamented that she didn’t know where to start again since she had nothing left of her in the school as secondary student, especially her school uniform and books. She asked for help from those who can help them. School Run consoled her and assured her that God will surely provide.
The Awka Diocesan Education Secretary, Rev. Fr. Nwajagu Obinna Hilary who was the immediate past Manager of the affected school, when speaking to Fides School Run, disclosed that such thing happened to the school on March 21st 2018, at about 10am, when an unfortunate heart-breaking inferno razed down the same building of Red house hostel in broad day light, but no life was lost.
“We thank God for He did not abandon his people because the prompt intervention of Gov. Willie Obiano, the Governor of Anambra state then, turned things around for the school and we totally renovated the school within three months” Fr Nwajagu concluded.