Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Wednesday visited the site of a fire incident triggered by the storage of firecrackers at the Ojo Giwa area of Jankara Market in Central Lagos, describing the incident a self inflicted tragedy.
The Governor who spoke with newsmen at the scene said: “We make rules, we break them. All of these items are under one form of prohibition or the other and we have men and women at our various entry and exit points”.
“How did they get in?, how did they enter?, who shipped them?, who imported them and who cleared them?. Who approved them to come in. Those are very serious issues. We must also ask ourselves, must we do every business?”, the Governor asked rhetorically.
The Governor reflected that the people must undertake a lot of soul searching and reflections on the choices they make as a people, asking; “the way we do business, does it benefit all of us or do we do business without consideration for other people’s safety as long as I make money?, I don’t care if people die, I don’t care if properties are burnt”.
He reiterated that in order to make quick business, lives have been lost, properties have been lost and all of the people are in danger.
Governor Fashola maintained that everyone must be involved in the soul searching process, underscoring that it must not be about the government alone. According to him, as the state government continues to ramp up capacities by equipping the fire service, equipping the emergency services, setting up a safety commission, the people must now choose how safely they want to live.
“There must be safety, environmental and health safety in everything that we do. We have had too many fires in the recent past and in spite of my appeals over the last two months that we are going into the dry season and that everyone must resist the temptation to keep inflammable materials in homes”, the Governor said.
The Governor revealed that two weeks ago, over a weekend of Saturday and Sunday , the Lagos State Fire Service responded to 22 fire distress calls, stressing that such number can be reduced through self -caution as the government cannot be in peoples’ homes to check who is storing fuel or explosives.
Governor Fashola said all citizens must now lead by showing some commitment to their own safety, by giving a commitment that: “I will keep petrol away from my house, I will keep explosives away from my house. I will not make any illegal electrical connection. I will switch off all my electrical appliances before I leave home”.
He warned that if care is not taken, it may get to a situation where if the present trend continues, the state fire service would be overwhelmed.
“All of us have a duty and I am renewing my appeal again, let us stop this dangerous businesses because once there is an error, the consequences are devastating as you see. I hope that we will restrain ourselves and get through this difficult year in some safety and adopt much more safety conscious choices as we go into the new year”, he explained.
The Governor was received and briefed at the site by the General Manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency(LASEMA) Dr Oke Osanyintolu and the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, TpL Toyin Ayinde and other officials who had been coordinating rescue and fire control efforts at the site.