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A Christmas of tragedy in Lagos

By Monsuru Olowoopejo

It was apparently a day for celebration of birth. And residents of Lagos State were all set to commence the Christmas Day celebration with dancing and other activities after the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had a night before the day declared, open the One Lagos Fiesta (OLF) at Agege mini-stadium with his great dancing moves.

But no one anticipated the disasters that later greeted the day meant for the celebration of birth. Rather than celebration, deaths were recorded, some displaced and property worth millions of naira destroyed before the end of the day.

Scene of the tragedy

It was unexpected considering the numerous warnings that were already dished out by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other emergency responders in the state in order to have a hitch-free celebration.

Going to bed after attending one of the five venues for the OLF-Agege, Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu and Lagos Island, the residents woke up with news of a partially collapsed building at the High Way Police Barracks, Ikeja.

The toilets and stairway of wing D block collapsed at about 4.00am, killing a sergeant identified as Danjuma and his friend, who had come to visit him.

Worried by the effect of the disaster, the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, ordered that the residents of the building should vacate and the structure, which was said had earlier failed integrity test be pulled down immediately.

Responding, General Manager LASEMA Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, said that they have commenced immediate demolition of the affected building under the directive of the Commissioner of Police.

While the emergency responders were battling with that, the news of massive fire disaster at the Nigerian Breweries Plc filtered in.

The fire which was finally curtailed several hours after destroyed property worth millions of Naira.

When asked about the inferno, Director of the Lagos State fire service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe said, “I have deployed five trucks to the scene to curtail the fire,” adding that he would join the team soon to put out the fire.

Tiamiyu noted that investigation carried out at the incident scene did not reveal the cause of the inferno that engulfed the pallet section of the brewery burning several numbers of pallets and rubber crates, saying no casualty was recorded in the incident but large numbers of goods were destroyed.

While rounding up the emergency work at the Iganmu office of the Nigerian Breweries PLC, another fire disaster occurred at Kara market at the Berger end of Lagos State.

Fadipe, who confirmed the inferno, disclosed that two fire trucks had been deployed to the scene to put out the fire before it escalates.

On completing the exercise at the market, another building at 10 Adegoke Street, Oke-Oko Baruwa in Mosan-Okunola Local Council Development Area, was gutted by fire.

A day after, on Boxing Day, a section of the lock up shops at the Lagos State University (LASU) main Campus, Ojo was gutted by fire.

Confirming the disaster, the institution’s Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations CIPPR, said that the fire service officials from Ojo Division responded on time to put out the fire.


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