No less than 1,500 stores have been closed observing the firecracker explosions which razed 12 houses and ruined residential property predicted at millions of naira on Wednesday at Jankara Market, Lagos Island.
Representative for the National Emergency Administration Company in the South-West Region, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said, “Concerning 1,500 stores have actually been shut due to the event.
“Our concern now is to take care of the humanitarian angle of this incident. This is an incident that is capable of pulling the affected traders back into poverty.”
Farinloye said the worth of goods and property damaged in the incident could not be ascertained for now.
Wednesday’s explosions deliver to the fore the lack of fire hydrants in several components of the state.
The NEMA spokesperson had stated water couldn’t be effortlessly accessed after the incident.
Besides, emergency laborers recovered bomb-like firecrackers in the fragments of the storehouses on Thursday.
A few of the firecrackers that were presented to our correspondents by authorities of the Lagos State Emergency Administration Agency measured some 3 feet in size and half foot in diameter.
The authorities stated the significant firecrackers did most of the damages. As at 2pm when among our correspondents left the scene, the firecrackers were still going off.
The state government’s bulldozers were also seen demolishing parts of some of the ruined buildings.
Firefighters were on hand to douse the flame that was consistently ignited at the site with water.
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Oyinlomo Danmole, who is in charge of the state’s fire service, said efforts had started about a year ago to repair existing fire hydrants and install new ones where they are needed.
Danmole said, “This is exactly what we keep telling people, laws in the state are not made for state officials but for the safety of the residents of the state.
“Recently, the state government inaugurated its safety commission to take care of incidents like this. But individuals have important roles to play in ensuring that avoidable disasters do not occur.”
The explosion site was heavily guarded by security agents on Thursday. Policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps cordoned off the scene.
Traders count losses
Some traders had expressed fear that some of the less affected shops in the area might be besieged by looters.
Affected traders stood expressionless and watched as their multi-million naira property burnt to ashes.
A dealer in clippers identified simply as Ugo, was salvaging some of his goods from his burnt store. He said “I might go crazy if I thought about my losses.”
One of his friends, Yemi, said his (Ugo’s) elder brother who co-owned the shop fainted when he got the news of the incident.
“Ugo only came here to see if he could salvage some of the goods. He is not doing well emotionally,” Yemi said.
Residents accuse police of complicity
Some residents blamed the police for the explosions, saying that enforcement of the laws on banger prohibition did not go beyond word of mouth.
The residents recalled that about eight years ago, a similar incident happened in Idumagbo area of Lagos Island.
They lamented that the police post which is next to the building where the fire started, knew that there were many warehouses in the area storing firecrackers but did nothing.
A landlord, Alhaji Monsuru Mohammed, whose three-storey building at 41, Ojo Giwa Street, was razed, said, “I built this house at the cost of N10m just two years ago and now it’s gone.”