Atiku’s Varsity Denies Explosion Report

The American University of Nigeria, owned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in partnership with American University in Washington, has denied newspaper reports that there was an explosion at the university which claimed many lives.

Dr. C. Michael Smith, AUN President

A statement issued yesterday in the university’s campus in Yola by the Vice President, University Relations, Dr Elspeth Smith, said the reports were “misleading and incorrect”. She said the university was only aware of a fire incident that occurred last week, some 15 kilometres away from the university’s campus. She said that the fire incident did not involve the university’s staff or its students.

The university spokesman Malam Abba Tahir had earlier yesterday told Daily Trust that there was no explosion in the university. He said there was a fire incident last week near one flat owned by the university where some of its staff reside in Jimeta, about 15 kilometres away from the university’s campus. According to him, “the incident occurred when an electrician contracted to do electrical repairs near the house, in turn contracted some welders to weld a diesel tank which in the process caught fire and the five people he contracted suffered severe burns.

“They suffered serious burns, but none of them died on the spot. They were taken to hospital and unfortunately one by one, four of them died,” he said.

Malam Abba Tahir said when the accident happened, the University management expressed its sympathy and visited the victims and their families to console with them.

The statement issued by Dr Smith yesterday reiterated Malam Tahir’s, saying there was neither explosion in the university nor was the fire incident an event that happened this week. She said: “One week ago on 22 November 2007 at 8:15 am, an accident involving a diesel tank occurred near a staff residence located in Jimeta, 15 kilometres from the AUN campus. No AUN employees or students were injured. Four men working on the tank suffered fatal injuries. A fifth person is recovering at the Specialist Hospital in Jimeta.

“A recent news story is misleading and incorrect. We regret the loss of life and injuries by contract workers last week. The University has taken all possible steps to console with the families of the deceased,” Dr Smith added.

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