A YEAR after the Lagos State Government released a white paper to checkmate the storage and sale of firecrackers; there was still no dull moment at the Lagos Island markets where these products were sold especially as the Yuletide draws near.
Last Saturday was no exception. As early as 9:00 am, traders of these firecrackers at Mosalasi, Dosunmu, Oroyinyin, Obun Eko Streets had openly displayed these explosive products and were already attending to the customers from within and outside the state, who had trooped to the market to shop for the season.
The State Government last year issued the White Paper after the Lagos Island explosion and fire incident of December 26th, 2012 in which one person was killed, 10 houses razed and 11 cars burnt at Ojo-Giwa Street, Jankara Market banning all markets and improvised warehouses for explosives in Jankara, Ojo-Giwa, Okoya and Moshalashi areas of Lagos Island.
At Ojo-Giwa Street, the relics of the building damaged by the explosion still stands and the roads yet to regain its status before the explosion.
Displaying their wares
Also, some of the traders affected by the explosion were still sighted at 45 Ojo-Giwa Street, where the explosion started, with their make-shift shops, with the aim to someday raise money to secure a better shop to display their wares.
Vanguard learned that the traders who deal in these products have not ceased from importing the products. Rather, they have introduced new brands to the market.
Vanguard approached some of the traders and discovered that there were inferior and genuine firecrackers in the markets.
One of the traders, who identified herself as Mama Bukky, explained “the prices are different. And this is based on their durability and loud sounds,” adding that the prices range between N350 for two sounds and five sounds for N650 among others. While a pack (10 pieces) of the inferior of 20 sounds was sold for N500.
One of the residents who do not want his named mentioned argued that the State Government plan would never be effective because the state was yet to create an urban warehouse in Jankara area, as contained in the policy.
He said “That was why the government cannot properly monitor the activities of the traders who import the explosive devices.
And that was why when you go to the streets today, you hear deafening sounds. And one cannot know if what he heard was the sound of gun or firecrackers.”
Sources also said that some of the products further violate the directives of the state government to have a clear instruction for its safe use in English language. But they were either written in Mandarin (Chinese), German or others.
The State government directed that the sale, storage and handling of fireworks must be with the express permission of Government and in line with extant (earlier) regulations (THE EXPLOSIVES ACT No. 34 1967).
The government added that health and safety rules require that all explosives to be sold, stored or distributed in Lagos State must bear a clear definition of its production details, contents, manufacturer’s address as well as clear instructions for its safe use in English Language.
Effort to get the response of the Attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye and the Director General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Mrs. Dominga Odebunmi to react to the development and what they government plans were to address the issues, were not successful, as they didn’t respond to the text messages sent to them.
According to him, a lot of people, including civil servants, are into farming and need markets to absorb the produce by the peasant, medium and large-scale farmers.
On various loan schemes initiated by government, Babawuro advised that government should ensure that such schemes reached the real farmers.
Babawuro, who commended the Federal Government’s Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) in boosting farming, also urged the authorities to ensure that farmers got the commodities meant for them.
He said farmers in the state had bumper harvest this year, attributing it to the moderate rainfall recorded in the state.