Simon P. Mallam, a professor of Physics and chairman and CEO of Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission was among the five victims killed in a gas explosion at the Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna Metropolis on Saturday.
The 64 year-old professor was at a barber’s shop for hair cut, when the explosion occurred, igniting an inferno that gutted the shop and others and made the building collapse.
The Toyota Highlander that brought the professor was seen parked on the road after the disaster.
Mallam hailed from Mallagum, Kagoro.
The community confirmed his death in an obituary notice issued by Francis Donatus Gwaza.
It read: “We the Kagoro community regret to announce the death of one of our prominent sons of the land on his way back from the New Year celebration.
“Prof. Simon P. Mallam’s life was lost at [the scene of a] recent gas explosion that took place in Ungwan/Boro of Sabon-Tasha Community of Chikun Local Government area in Southern Kaduna.
“Before his death, he was a professor of Physics with the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and the present chairman of Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission. “May his Soul Rest in Peace and may God Almighty Comfort his entire Family. Amen.”
Eli Dangana, a friend of Mallam’s family said his remains were deposited at the Sabon Tasha General Hospital.
According to the biography published on the Atomic Energy Commission’s website Prof. Simon P. Mallam was born in Kagoro, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State on 12 June, 1955.
He attended Government Secondary School Zaria where he obtained West African School Certificate in 1973.
In 1978 and 1984 he graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria with B.Sc. in Physics and M.Sc Nuclear Physics respectively.
In 1984, Prof. Mallam went to France to further his education, first enrolling for French Language Courses. In 1987, he graduated from the University of Paris VI, France with DEA. Molecular Biophysics. He obtained his Doctorate in Physics in 1990 from the University de Grenoble 1, France.
Prof Mallam has held several positions as an academic and administrator. From 1979 to 1984, he was Graduate Assistant – Assistant Lecturer, Physics Department, ABU, Zaria. In 1984 he was made Research Fellow II and rose through the ranks to become a Professor in 2001.
His specialized area of teaching over the years are in the fields of nuclear physics, health physics, instrumentation and dosimetry, solid state physics, application of radiation in the life science and radiation and radioactive waste safety and management. He has supervised and graduated numerous postgraduate thesis and dissertations.
Between 1999 to 2006 he was on several occasions Acting Director, Center for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Zaria.
A Fellow, Nigeria Institute of Physics (2007), Mallam has carried out researches in several areas and published numerous articles and journals. His researches are in the fields of Radiation and Nuclear Techniques in Biophysics, Medical Physics, Environment and Radiation Effects and Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Radioactive Waste Management. He has served in many Technical Advisory Committees both at the University, National and international levels. He has been the national coordinator of efforts at entrenching a radioactive waste management regime in the country.