Last boxing day, fireworks stored in a building in Jankara area of Lagos, exploded leaving one dead and 40 others injured.
The Lagos State Tribunal of Enquiry into the last Boxing Day’s explosion held its inaugural sitting, Thursday, with the committee calling on the public to come forward with their testimonies.
The public hearing will commence on April 8.
“We are going to issue witness summons to those who are going to testify. We may take one or two witnesses a day depending on the length of testimony,” said Sunday Oladokun-Ishola, a retired judge and the tribunal’s Chairman.
“We will not sit beyond 4 p.m. We can, at times, rise at 2 p.m., but definitely, the sitting will not go past 4 o’clock,” Mr. Oladokun-Ishola added.
The explosion on December 26, 2012, ripped across 10 buildings at the Jankara area of Lagos Island, leaving one dead and about 40 others injured.
Fire fighters struggled for days to put out the fire ignited by the explosion, which was caused by fireworks warehoused in buildings in the area.
“We are going to visit the place, but we will keep the date to our breasts for security reasons,” Mr. Oladokun-Ishola said. “But we will inform the members of the public who are here.”
The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, inaugurated the tribunal, in February, to ascertain the causes of the explosion as well as establish a legal framework for the importation, sale, and distribution of fireworks in the state.
The tribunal, which is expected to finish their assignment in three months, is also expected to make recommendations necessary to avoid fire incidents, promote safe practices, and adhere to safety standards in the handling of explosive material.
Other members of the tribunal include Wasiu Olokunola, a Special Adviser in the Office of Infrastructure and Asset Management, Lagos State; Richard Ahonaruogho, a former Coordinating Secretary of the Committee of Chairmen and Secretaries of the Nigerian Bar Association; and Victoria Fagbayi, a Chief State Counsel.
The Chairman of Lagos Island local council, Wasiu Eshinlokun, called on the public “not to think that the tribunal is a court and therefore stay away.”
“The whole essence of the public hearing is to get the true picture and also make laws that will guide things in the future,” said Mr. Eshinlokun.
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