Nigerian Police Goes After Importers, Sellers Of Bangers

The Nigerian police in Lagos State have vowed to clampdown on sellers and users of fireworks across the state following series of explosions in Lagos Island yesterday in which one person was killed and 10 houses and 11 cars burnt.

Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ngozi Braide told P.M.NEWS yesterday that the ban on fireworks usage during the yuletide has not been lifted and the police would now begin enforcement of the ban.

Braide, who visited the scene of the explosions on Lagos Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Wednesday, was shocked by the magnitude of the damage.

“Using fireworks and bangers in Lagos State is still banned. Investigation will commence on the importation of such explosive materials. Are they supposed to store such explosives in a warehouse in a residential area? Whenever Lagosians see such things henceforth, they should call the attention of the police.  In the past, these explosives have been used by criminals to commit crime. It has been abused,” she said.

Governor Babatunde Fashola, who also visited the scene yesterday, described the incident as a self-inflicted tragedy.

“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 in? 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?” he asked.

One of the buildings affected by fire at the Jankara Market being pulled down by a caterpillar. Inset is Police IG, Umar Manko.

The governor tasked the people to undertake a lot of soul-searching and reflections on the choices they make. “Does the way we do business benefit all of us or do we do business without consideration for other people’s safety as long as we make money?” Fashola asked. He condemned the “I don’t care if people die, I don’t care if properties are burnt” business philosophy of many Nigerians. He lamented that in order for many Nigerians to make quick profit, “lives and properties had been lost.”

Fashola maintained that everyone must be involved in the soul-searching process, underscoring that it must not be about the government alone. He added that the state government will continue to expand capacities by equipping the Fire Service, equipping the emergency services and setting up a safety commission.

Fashola disclosed that two weeks ago, the Lagos State Fire Service responded to 22 fire distress calls, stressing that such number could be reduced through self-caution, as the government could not be in peoples’ homes to check who was storing fuel or explosives.

He 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.

Meanwhile, members the Lagos State House of Assembly have called on security agencies to fish out those behind the importation of the fireworks and mini-explosives that resulted in the tragic incident at the Jankara area of Lagos Island on Wednesday.

The fireworks exploded, resulting in the destruction of  10 houses, the warehouse, cars and other properties of residents in the area.

It also caused the death of a resident and injuries to many. The lawmaker representing the affected area at the state House of Assembly, Hakeem Masha, told P.M.NEWS this morning, that stocking and usage of fireworks at festive seasons has become a yearly ritual in the area, lamenting that the police had tried to stop perpetrators to no avail.

Masha, who supported the arrest of the perpetrators of the Boxing Day tragedy in his constituency, said the  incident was serious because the warehouses were sited among residential buildings in the area.

The lawmaker, who said the knock-outs and bangers were still exploding as at when the governor and other officials of the state government visited the scene, also said that men of the Physical Planning Agency were still trying to pull down affected buildings as at the time he left the place. He said the owner of the warehouse that caused the fire was yet to show up, but residents of the area confirmed that the businessman has been stocking the mini-explosives in the warehouse since October.

Masha, the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts for Local Government, also told P.M. NEWS that though the area has often witnessed tragedies as a result of the use of fireworks, yesterday’s incident is the most tragic in the last 10 years.

He called on the law enforcement agents in the state to embark on implementation of the law against the use of fireworks by unscrupulous elements in the state.

He also advised parents to enlighten their wards on the dangers such items pose.

Supporting the governor, a lawmaker, Ipoola Omisore, said the incident was a reflection of the inefficiency of the country’s security agencies.

Omisore wondered how banned products still found their way into the country.

According to him, the incident showed that the Nigerian Customs Service as well as the police are not doing enough.

Omisore said the federal government must look critically at strengthening the country’s law enforcement agencies and reviewing their activities if the country must become a better place.

Another lawmaker, Wahab Alawiye-King, said the issue has always been a major source of concern to the people of the affected area even before this recent incident.

According to him, the business people has been using the building for that purpose.

“In the current situation where you do not know the difference between the sound of a knock-out and that of a gun or even bomb, is it wise to still allow fireworks and other such things into the country?

“You can imagine how many houses were destroyed, the properties that were burnt as a result of one person’s carelessness,” he said while maintaining that the importers of the fireworks must be brought to book to serve as deterrent to others in the business.

—Kazeem  Ugbodaga


  1. Nwaokeze

    Donstan i agree u but dnt not only the igbo who are importer.


    I know it was caused by my brothers.

  3. DonStan

    Lagos state government knew what they are doing, certainly the importer must be an Igbo man, what about the little boy the throw the banger inside someones packing house? they should check the boy to find out if he was sent to do that. Banger has been there for long, so you guys should not take because of this incident to start harassing innocent businessmen, afterall it was imported and cleared at the the lagos port and duty was paid for it.
    Accident can happen, even at home, office, car, air craft, obasanjo house name them. so dont go harassing innocent trader. we have celebrating with banger and nothing had happened. ogbeni fashola, please think of a better thing to do than to focus on an issue which should be resolved by simple caution

  4. Nwaokeze

    Okeke when mature people are talking. Pls dnt talk. I will nt blem anybody on this mata but stoping banger in nigeria is not the best thing to do, becouse, without banger in xmas period, the xmas is not complete. Let tell them to aply safety and not to course more coruption by puting a law to stop banger in nigeria. Please let our country not be left alone.

  5. jimo

    This is just another power 4 police to intimidate, harass, brutalize and kill people in the name of implementing law against banger. Will Obama direct US police to arrest anyone with gun, just because one kid shot several others?. Xmas is time of banger even d police, governor etc used it. What we need is to apply safety measures to avoid future occurrence and not to open doors 4 this uniform thieves to throw more banger of extortion on people this festive season in the name of law. Again, why this police woman is out to comment so fast, But d last time policeman killed an innocent citizen she will not be available to comment. Abeg make u swear say there was no banger in ur own house used by ur children or relatives. Pls start d investigation and arrest from ur family and police barracks as charity begins at home

  6. Iyabode

    Real idiots. Police men also threw fireworks and knockouts. Medicine after death.

  7. jay

    thunder fire the police and the stupid governor. can any of them swear that they never used fireworks? fireworks is the fun of the season, no govt can ban it in nigeria. as we are here now, bangers are being used in the police, navy, air force, army, sss, customs barracks. who s fooling who?

  8. AGUNABU Ndi Biafra

    Ok eke devil will punish that ur pig mouth area boy like u , what have Igbo traders got to do with this explosion? How many times have wood market burnt here in Lagos? Do they love money more than their family members? Pls stop calling igbos when ever their is man made accident in this country. Take this or u leave it without the igbos Nigeria will be come a dead nation so why not appreciate the igbos.

  9. Rommel

    Only a fool will ban fireworks,this is one of the biggest fun that Nigeria children enjoy during the Yuletides,govt should rather think of how to make it safer rather then this medieval behavior

    1. J.O

      Hello Rommel, If u have a shop among those burnt shop or ur house is among those houses that was burnt u will not talk the way u are talking

  10. Ok eke

    The importers are IBO traders they can sell their mother for money. Very greedy and selfish people. iBO = I before others.

    1. King

      @ OK eke, fool like you talks rubbish.

  11. Mash

    Rubbish talk as usual.When they are celebrating one owambe or another it is okay to use fireworks,but now because things have gone awry,they remember it is a banned item.Stupid idiots.

  12. tayo

    This is evening School aka medicine after death

  13. samuel

    Why is it that Nigeria will never learn?All parties involved in this inferno must be brought to book.Its not only the importers but the customs,police,landlords and the shipping companies must be interrogated to determine their roles in this terrible breach.If there is a subsisting law against importation of bangers why should it be ignored ?This type of attitude has been the reason for the security lapses we are all witnessing in Nigeria.Under the guise of importation of bangers,who knows if a lot of more dangerous weapons have not been smuggled into the country!The security Authorities must take a very serious view of this incident and introduce measures that will deter any such future occurrence which could jeopardize the safety of the people

  14. John

    “Lagos State have vowed to clampdown on sellers and users of fireworks across the state following series of explosions in Lagos Island yesterday…” AFTER THE DAMAGED.

    1. mustee

      wetin dey do gov’t dem put chew gum for eyes abi cotton wool for hear, where SON and other agency dey wen the so called items were cleared no b dem pass am. This is rubbish talk from gov’t and men in black uniform

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