By Femi Bolaji
It started with a windstorm that initially brought a sigh of relief for residents of the community who had been anticipating rain, having endured the scourge of the hot season for some months running.
They were also preparing to return to the farm and had stored up grains and some food crops to sustain them all through the anticipated rainy season.
But their joy was cut short by the first blast of the raging wind storm, which triggered a wave of strange fire in Bandawa Community of Taraba State.
The fire, which spread with unusual speed and fury, claimed the lives of two members of the community and razed property worth hundreds of millions of Naira before it could be put off by desperate community members in the remote community in Karim Lamido Local Governemnt Area of the state. Most inhabitants of this settlement are indigenous farmers and are currently in need of help.
No fewer than 100 households are now homeless and are calling on government at the federal and state levels to come to their aid. While some have started picking up the pieces of what was left to continue with their lives, others have little or nothing to fall back on.
An indigene of the village, Joachim Dangana, who spoke to Arewa Voice, narrated how the fire broke out.
“There was a windstorm in the community, but it seems someone was cooking at the time.
“Before we knew what was happening, the windstorm blew the fire on one of the thatched houses and from there it spread to other households.
“Unfortunately, two elderly persons died from the fire incident and most inhabitants of the village are homeless.”
Dangana, who is the State Chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, called on the state government and Federal Government to assist the grieving farmers.
Also reacting, the President of Bandawa Community Development Association, Mathias Manyi, commiserated with the grieving farmers.
He pleaded with government agencies in charge of disaster management to assist the victims in these trying times.
Also, former Chairman of NULGE in Taraba state, Obidah Bitrus, expressed worry over the devastating effect of the fire disaster which he said has never been witnessed in the Community.
He solicited the support of well-meaning individuals, including Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, to cushion the hardship of the grieving villagers.
The state Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Binga Taninga Panunga, who spoke to Arewa Voice via telephone, said the ministry has sent representatives to the affected community to ascertain the level of destruction.
He noted that the report has gotten to him and the state government is willing to assist the victims of the fire incident and other disasters across the state.