Fire crackers disappear from warehouse sealed off by government

Following the firecracker explosions in Jankara Market, Lagos, which left at least one person dead and destroyed several properties, some of the firecrackers left in a warehouse closed by the Lagos State Government have disappeared.

A police source said the warehouse, which is at Oke Arin Market, Lagos Island was one of the warehouses sealed off after the explosions to help the police in their investigation.

The source said it was a surprise that the firecrackers in the warehouse had disappeared when investigators visited it on Friday.

He said, “On December 27, 2012, we discovered two warehouses in Oke Arin and Dosunmu markets and we were able to seal them off. Further investigations revealed that the sealed warehouses belong to the man who owns the one in Jankara Market, Ojo Giwa Street which caught fire last Wednesday.

“However, we discovered just two days ago that following the approval of a senior police officer, some people went into the warehouse at Oke Arin Market at night and evacuated all the goods. The one in Dosnumu is still intact.”

The warehouses, our correspondent learnt, were sealed off based on the order of Governor Babatunde Fashola.

“The governor gave an order that those involved in importation of the killer fireworks that led to Wednesday’s explosions should be unmasked. He said a holistic investigation to unravel the cause of the accident as well as those involved in the importation and clearing at the ports should be carried out,” the source said

The sudden disappearance of the fireworks was said to have caused an embarrassment for the state police command.

It was learnt that the police authorities were already holding talks with elders in the community to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the fireworks.

Last week, some residents had alleged that police were complicit in the thriving business of bangers.

Residents had alleged that the explosives which were brought in a 24-foot container and offloaded into the warehouse at Jankara Market a few days before the explosions was escorted by policemen.

This, they said, was the reason why the police did not clamp down on banger sellers even though a police post was adjacent to the building where the fire emanated from.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said she was unaware of the development.

“The area commander said some warehouses have been sealed off and policemen have been stationed there so it’s not possible for the firecrackers to go missing,” she said.

Meanwhile, a group, The Muslim Congress, has said the government needs to ban fireworks completely in the country.

TMC said in a statement by its President, Lukman AbdurRaheem, on Sunday, said that when fireworks intimidated and rendered people homeless, it could only be described as ungodly.

The group empathises with the victims of the fire disaster caused by the firecrackers on the Lagos Island.

It said, “Celebration from theological perspective connotes a time for sober reflection and emulation of the sublime precepts of the prophets of religions.

“The federal, state and local governments should ban firecrackers completely and ensure that their importation and use as objects of entertainment by Nigerians be discouraged.”

TMC urged clerics to educate their followers, adding that criminals used fireworks to instigate fear and perpetrate evil in the society.

“Fireworks practically damage and destroy the environment and valuable public utilities while the explosions also release poisonous chemicals,” it said.

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