Babatunde Fashola, governor of Nigeria’s Lagos State Monday inaugurated a three-man panel to probe last Boxing Day explosions at Jankara market on Lagos Island.
On 26 December, series of explosions emanating from a shop where firecrackers were stored, razed about 12 buildings and many cars. There was only one death.
The panel is chaired by Justice Oladokun Ishola (Rtd), Engr. Olokunola Wasiu and Mr. Richard Ahonaruogho. The panel has three months to complete its assignement aimed at assisting the state discover how such explosives got into residential areas as well as strengthen the capacity of government to stop such occurrences in the nearest future.
According to Fashola, the panel is to look into the remote and immediate causes of the incident with a view to forestalling future occurrences.
“We expect also that members of the public will respond by providing information and submitting memoranda and giving evidence whenever the need arises. We expect that all the first responders who played one role or the other on the day, the fire service, the police, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, to whom we are very grateful, will be able to shed more light into how we came to that unfortunate incident,” Fashola said.
Fashola said he hoped the report of the panel would be able to unravel “what more we should do, why this kind of substances got into residential areas and why in the very notorious difficulties that are associated with our ports, that lawful items are much more difficult to clear than prohibited items because these things came in December in good time for the purpose and I know quite a few business men who have still not got their legitimate goods out.”
“For the records, this is the second time in 10 years that this kind of thing will happen in Lagos, and clearly we want to ensure that the lessons of these two incidents remain enduring and beneficial for the future.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye added that the tribunal is to establish and review the legal framework for the importation, distribution and sale of fireworks in the state.
“They are to investigate and report on the use of premises, whether private or commercial, for the storage and sale of explosives or combustible materials and make appropriate recommendations to the government.
“They are to review the adequacy or otherwise of laws and regulations applicable to the storage, handling and sale of explosives or combustible materials and make such other recommendations as may be considered necessary to avoid a recurrence of such fire incidents, promote safe practices and adherence to safety standards in the handling of explosives