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Monday, 31 December 2012 00:00
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Jankara market fireworks explosions: Traders panic over invasion by area boys

Fears and apprehension have begun to grip traders at the popular Jankari market in Lagos Island over the possible invasion of the pace by  street urchins popularly called 'Area boys, who may capitlaize on the incident to  loot their shops along the affected Ojo Giwa street, Jankara, Lagos Island, following the firework explosions which rocked three buildings on wednesday the boxing day.

Some of the traders milled around the cordoned affected street but were prevented by armed policemen drawn from various diviisional police stations within Area 'A' Command Headquarters, Lion Building, Lagos Island who were led by the commander in-charge, Mr. Imohimi Edgal. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) ,except on production of their association's identity cards before they could be allowed to gain access to their respective stores.

Those allowed were frisked and asked to remove their wares by the officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Lagos State Fire Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Neighbourhood Watch and police before the charred remains of the three buildings located at House No. 41, 43, and 45 badly affected were pulled pulled and cleared.

As at press time, the fireworks were still exploding, while fire fighters from the Lagos State Government were putting out the smoke and buldozers pulling down and clearing the debris.

The ill-fated building on House No. 45 also, houses shops where combustible items like generating sets, gas cylinders, energy-saving bulbs, feeding coolers, electrical cables and others were being sold.

The frisking of the traders, it was gathered, was to prevent Area boys from the infiltrating the scene and loot shops under the guise of assisting in the rescue operations.

On wednesday, it was learnt that no fewer than six of the street urchins were arrested while making away with air-conditioner compressors.

Ekene Nnadozie, a trader who deals in electronics gadgets and owns his shop in the ill-fated House No. 45 Ojo Giwa where the fireworks exploded expressed shock and said he was yet to believe what had happened to him.

He said he had lost several millions into the inferno.

According to him, as a Christian he was at home and did not open shop so that he could celebrate the Christmas festivity.

He said he was surprised when he learnt that his shop had been torched.

Chuka Nnanji, who owns also owns a shop in the House No. 45 and sells electrical extension wires, claimed the incident still baffled him as he had equally lost items running into million into the fire outbreak.

Also, Kelvin who assists his elder brother Ugoh said his brother had travelled to the village in the East and that, when he called and informed him, he fainted.

He said his brother just imported some barber's clippers (chaoba wall) and wanted to sell them during the yuletide and new year seasons when its demand is usually high.

He said the price of each clipper depends on affordability and they range from N3,000 to N8,000.

Most of the traders spoken with, laid the blame on two Yoruba men who are fronting for a chinese national.

They said the two Yoruba men usually come at night to offload goods into the warehouse which is on the third floor of the ill-fated building but which they did not known the contents until the outbreak on wednesday.

Last Sunday, they claimed the two men brought some items in cartons and stocked the warehouse.

A public school opposite the ill-fated building, King Ado Senior and Junior Secondary Schools had its window panes,