For allowing a stockpile of fireworks at a sealed warehouse in Oke-Arin Market to vanish into thin air under their watch, the Lagos State Police Command has arrested the team of policemen who were on duty there.
The sealing of some warehouses in Jankara market on Lagos Island followed the boxing day tragedy where a building housing fire crackers exploded killing four as at the last count, injuring many and destroying properties worth several millions of naira.
However, one of the warehouses in Oke-Arin Market had its contents moved on Friday allegedly on the orders of a senior officer.
A police source, who craved anonymity, disclosed that the policemen had been arrested and had written statements.
He said, “The men have been arrested but it is really not a big deal. Traders, whose shops were sealed off, were allowed to take their goods. It’s not only firecrackers but dealers in other goods were allowed to take their items as well.
“The order we were given was to make sure that the sale of firecrackers was prohibited and that is what we are doing.”
The source added that the police were not really after the owner of the firecrackers that caused the wanton destruction in the market rather, the person that started the fire.
He said, “The owner of the firecrackers at 45, Ojo Giwa Street, where the fire started, cannot be charged with either murder or arson. The owner neither killed anybody nor destroy properties. The person that we should be looking for is the person that started the fire.
“Law on the use of explosives is hardly enforced in Nigeria and it’s not conclusive that is why lawmakers in the state House of Assembly are trying to review the law on indiscriminate use and storage of fireworks.”
But when contacted on the development, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, denied any such incident.
“I just spoke with the Divisional Police Officer, Adeniji Adele, and he denied it, saying the incident never happened,” she said.
Braide said efforts were being made to locate the owner of the firecrackers which caused the explosions.