29 December 2012

Nigeria: Lagos Explosion - Buildings to Undergo Integrity Test

Even as the smoke smouldered at the scene of the firecracker explosions at the Jankara Market in Lagos Island, the state government has issued a 21-day ultimatum to residents of Ojo Giwa and Okoya streets to submit their buildings to integrity test.

The exercise will be carried out by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA). The agency yesterday told residents and owners of the houses close to the disaster area to submit their houses to checks to ensure that they are safe to live in within the 21 days.

Buildings which do not pass the integrity test or whose owners refuse to submit them to checks within the stipulated time would be demolished along with the burnt buildings, the agency said.

Officials of the agency were seen yesterday distributing leaflets and calling on the residents of the area to ensure that their houses were checked or risk being demolished.

Meanwhile, police presence was still strong in the area and the adjourning streets. The area was condoned off by police and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

A total of 12 buildings were destroyed by explosions caused by firecrackers on Boxing Day leaving seven persons dead and over 35 others severely injured.

Some of the affected individuals who spoke with LEADERSHIP WEEKEND at the scene of the fire yesterday recounted their ordeal.

Chinedu Festus Ogubie, one of the affected store owners, said, his shop attendants had just stocked the shop when the firecrackers went off. "When the thing started flying out of the window, we all ran away and by the time we came back, everything was on fire."

In his late 40s, Chinedu who sells home appliances and has a store and a warehouse in one of the razed buildings lamented that he had lost all he had to the fire. Estimating his loss at over N5 million, he called on the government to assist the traders get back to their feet.

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