Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Police Intensify Search for Banger Importers

The Police in Lagos have intensified efforts to arrest persons involved in the storage of bangers that exploded, burnt houses and killed one person on Wednesday at the Jankara Market.

The Commissioner of Police, Malam Umar Manko, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that no fewer than 13 people were injured, four were still receiving treatment, and 12 houses were burnt. NAN reports that the fire, which an eyewitness said started at about 9:00 am was caused by bangers that were packed in a shop in Folawiyo House, located at No. 45, Ojogiwa St., Idumota.

However, NAN gathered that the police at the Area A Command, Lagos Island, have embarked on seizure of firecrackers from hawkers and users within the area.

NAN's investigation shows that the importers and some dealers in the firecrackers were on the run after the fire incident.

Earlier, the leader of the community, Alhaji Olumegbon Isiaka, told NAN that one of the sellers lit a firecracker, which flew into a shop leading to numerous explosions that spread to other buildings. Isiaka confirmed the death of a 15-year-old boy in the fire and added that as many as 40 people were injured.

Among the buildings affected were Martins House, Folami House, Akib House, Gunsemade Plaza, Fashola House, Modupe House and Okoya House. NAN reports that various government agencies and emergency outfits were on ground to contain the inferno as the firecrackers continued to explode.

The Federal Fire Service, the Police, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Red Cross and the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), were all at the scene of the fire.

Most of the shops in the area were locked, while some shop owners who came round, tried to evacuate their wares, in spite of the restriction of movement placed on the area by security officials. Mr Sadiq Isa, who described himself as a coordinator at the state governor's office, said: "Any building found containing firecrackers will be sealed immediately and anyone found with them will be prosecuted."

The police bomb squad took samples of the explosives for further examination.

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