Barely 20 minutes after Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former President left his Abeokuta Hilltop Mansion residence on Thursday, fire engulfed the building.
The house located in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, was gutted by fire on Thursday with extensive damages recorded in the 30-minute incident
The fire, which started at about 4.25 p.m., was traced to electricity power surge, just barely about 20 minutes after Mr. Obasanjo left for his other house located in the Ita-Eko area of the town.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the fire started from Mr. Obasanjo’s private office, a stone throw to his bedroom, before the security in the premises raised alarm, and the state fire service was contacted.
The fire service, in a swift response, raced to the scene with two fire fighting vehicles, to curtail the fire, which would have spread to other apartments. However, a number of valuables were consumed by the fire.
No life was lost, but some damaged property were seen being moved out by men of the fire service and officers of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC).
As at the time of this report, Mr. Obasanjo had returned home, apparently to see the extent of the damage. His wife, Bola Obasanjo, was seen outside in company of some grandchildren looking worried.
On his part, Mr. Obasanjo, after the fire had been put under control, was seen sitting within the premises receiving telephone calls from sympathizers.
However, one of his sons, identified as Oba Obasanjo, threw caution to the wind, as he seized the Blackberry phone of PREMIUM TIMES correspondent and smashed it on the floor for taking photographs.
Symphatisers that thronged the home of the former President include the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye; a factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, Dipo Odujinrin; and the state’s Director of State Security Services.
Ironically, an hour after the fire incident was brought under control, the officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, arrived in two pick-up vans loaded with ladders.
The former President is expected to address journalists on the cause of the fire.
Located along the Ibrahim Babangida Boulevard in Abeokuta, the multi-millionaire villa, made up of about six structures, was completely shortly before Mr. Obasanjo left office in 2007. It was constructed by Messrs Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited, an Abuja-based Italian company.
It was built atop a hill, some critics said, to give the former president the psychological feeling of being on top of everyone.