Tragedy struck Inynasang community in Calabar, the Cross River state capital following the death of five-year-old twins, in a midnight fire caused by candlelight.
It was gathered that the incident, which occurred at about 1:00a.m. on Monday at No. 9, Edem Okon Street, Inynasang, engulfed five buildings.
The twins (Bishop and Ituobong) were said to have met their death when their mother left a candle on the refrigerator, which melted into the refrigerator and caught fire that later razed the whole house.
Speaking on the incident, an eyewitness, Miss Immaculate Essien, said their mother is a single parent but left the children in the house alone to sleep elsewhere.
She said: “Their mother made them tea and bread and left for her boyfriend’s house leaving a candlelight on the refrigerator and asked them to put off the candle when they were done but they slept off.
“I started noticing smoke at about 1:00a.m. and before I could come out with my son my house was already in flames from the roof while the deceased room was already engulfed in fire. We tried putting off the fire but it was very difficult because of the rubber ceiling, which escalated the inferno to the next compound. I had to choice than to leave the place, I didn’t come out with a pin, I lost everything in the fire.”
Another resident, Mrs. Gloria Asuquo, said the bereaved mother who fries yam and bean cake (Akara) at their junction, was foolish to have left her children alone at home to meet a man.
She said: “She left her children to have sex with a man without turning off the candle she left on the fridge; those children would still be alive if she applied caution but because she was in a hurry to go out, she will now live to regret her action forever.
“Residents are furious and don’t even want to see her because she normally doesn’t want the children to come out and play with the other kids because she was afraid her separated husband will come and abduct them.
“She has been visiting the man in this our area for long and that was part of the reason her husband left her and got another apartment. She did not even allow the man to pick anything from the house. Now, the evil has finally become public knowledge.”
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Cross River State, DSP Irene Ugbo, said that “the mother of the deceased was at their Divisional Police Office at Airport Road because we leant the people in the neighbourhood wanted to lynch her.
“We had to keep her in our custody because angry neighbours wanted to lynch her because of what happened. They blamed her that it was her fault that the children died in such a tragic manner because she went to sleep at her lover’s place.
“We are investigating the matter and hope to get to the root to avoid an escalation of the matter because we also learned that the man she slept in his place was attacked and his dog was brutally slaughtered by the angry mob.”