"Daddy, today I did not sleep in school, and I recited the Qur'an perfectly," were the last words Abdulrahman Ibrahim will remember hearing from his three-year-old son, Khaleel, who died alongside six other family members in an inferno in Na'ibawa area of Kano metropolis.
Ibrahim said he remembered those words vividly as they were the words his son emphasized to him when he went to pick them (with his brother) up from Islamiyya evening classes on that fateful Monday.
Fire gutted the house of Abdurrahman Ibrahim (aka Babawo) at Na'ibawa 'Yanlemo in Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano State and seven family members lost their lives in the inferno. It was gathered that the fire occurred on Monday around 9:30pm when the family members had already retired to bed.
The deceased children
Those killed in the fire incident include Ibrahim's aged mother - Hajiya Rahinatu Jibrin; his two children, five-year-old Abdurrahman and three-year-old Khaleel.
Others are Ibrahim's sister Aisha Ibrahim and his nieces, Intisar Ya'u, Amina Ya'u and Rahinatu Ya'u.
According to an eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, the cause of the fire was related to mosquito coils which the family members used to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The eyewitness added that it was the wife who noticed the fire. "It was the wife that saw the smoke coming out from her mother-in-law's room and she rushed out calling for help. We immediately rushed to the house and helped to put the fire off," the witness said.
The deceased have since been buried according to Islamic injunctions.
Ibrahim told Daily Trust Saturday that he was not at home when the incident happened.
"Innalillahi Wainna ilaihi Raji'un (To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return). I was in my business place when one of my younger brothers called me on phone and told me that my house was gutted by fire. I rushed back home only to see that my mother, my two sons, my sister and her three children have all been burnt by the fire.
"I noticed that six of them had already died while my sister was still breathing, so we rushed her to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital where she was admitted. The doctor said she will undergo several operations but she died the following morning," he narrated.
Ibrahim, who is a tailor in the area, explained that his sister, who lives in Suleja, came to Kano for their elder brother's wedding.
"She decided to spend some days with her family in Kano. And we did not know she came to meet her end here," he said.
Ibrahim also said the fire was caused by a mosquito coil.
He disclosed that all the properties in his mother's room and the sitting room were consumed by the fire.
Recalling the last moment with his children, Ibrahim said that his last chat with his three-year-old son Khaleel was still fresh in his mind.
"When I picked them up from school in the afternoon, he was so excited as he was telling me that "Daddy today I did my class work myself. My class teacher allowed me to write and I did well.
"He repeated almost the same thing in the evening when I picked them from Islamiyya. He told me that he did well in his Qur'anic recitation. He was so happy when he was speaking to me.
"I dropped them at home and went back to my tailoring shop at 'Yanlemo market. Only for me to come back and meet their burnt corpses.
"I only pray for their souls to rest in peace and for Allah to give us the fortitude to bear the loss. This is a loss that I can never forget until when my own time comes," he said.
Efforts to speak with the wife proved abortive as she was still in shock over the incident.
However, the Kano State Fire Service said they were not aware of the fire incident.
Alhaji Saidu Muhammed, the Service's Public Relations Officer told Daily Trust Saturday that, "We did not receive any distress call from Na'ibawa. We cannot be aware of any incidents until when we are informed. So, we know nothing about the fire you are talking about."