One of them asked: “How can somebody store about three trailer-load of ‘bangers’ in a residential area?”
“Importation of banger should be stopped,” he added.
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Mr Emmanuel Agu, who sustained an arm injury, told The Nation that the fire started at about 9am.
He said: “I was inside my shop and heard an explosion, which I thought was a knockout. But when I noticed that our building was shaking, I started running. Unfortunately, I fell and one of the pillars from the top of the building fell on my hand.”
Agu said he was aware that fireworks were stored in the building by ‘Mr. Jossy’, who imports them.
He said: “I am aware the man stores fire crackers. Containers loaded with fire crackers were offloaded on weekly basis and people have been coming to buy in bulk. But I never knew the thing could be this deadly.”
Another victim, Ahmed Omolarun, said he ran for safety when he saw that the roof of his house was flying off.
He described the explosion as “the worst experience” he has had. He urged the Federal Government to ensure stiffer security at the borders and the ports.
He said: “Suddenly, we noticed there was an explosion. We thought it was the usual banger or that someone was throwing it closer to our house.
“But the next thing I noticed was that our window was flying out and before I knew it, there was total blackout. So, I ran with my family for safety because I thought the world was coming to an end.
“ I saw all the electric poles on the streets were on the ground, that was when I got the real picture of what was happening.
“You can see that about 8-10 buildings have been burnt down by the fire.
“The fire service came here around 11am and since then, they have been doing their best to put out the fire.
“The government should tighten security on importation of goods.
“How can someone store about three trailer loads of banger in a residential area?
“Importation of banger should be stopped. That is not how to celebrate Christmas. So many people have been rendered homeless now and others have their sources of livelihood destroyed.
“There are many ways to celebrate Christmas without bringing sorrow to others,” Omolarun said.
An official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who pleaded no to be named, said he felt dynamites caused the explosion.
According to him, from the particles seen as well as the gravity and rapidity of the fire, it was dynamite and not knockouts.
He said: “Take a look at this picture; is this knockout? This is a dynamite.
“I think the explosion occurred as a result of the heat. Dynamites and bangers are warehoused in this area.
“We were told that one of the traders wanted to carry a carton of the product but it fell and exploded.
“So far, about 50 casualties have been recorded.”