The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said there are reasons to suspect the Thursday night's fire that razed Kairo Market in Oshodi was caused by explosives.
LASEMA's Director-General (DG), Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the suspicions were based on explosives recovered from the scene of incident. But the police disagree, saying no explosives were recovered from the scene.
WUZUPNIGERIA recalled that the market had gone up in flames around 8pm on Thursday, burning 66 K-Clamp shops, 25 containarised shops and four administrative offices with goods worth millions of nairas destroyed in the incident.
The LASEMA DG, while giving updates on the fire after emergency responders contained the fire, had said, "Initial investigations suggest that some form of explosives/ accelerants were used; indicating some foul play. Relevant authorities including the Nigeria Police have been alerted to carry out further investigations."
In a further update issued Friday morning, the LASEMA boss said rescuers encountered some security challenges during the operation, adding that their efforts were sabotaged.
"Members of the public sabotaged our efforts by cutting our hoses in the middle to save their individual shops which affected the overall efforts of our personnel and damage to our equipment," he said.
"Some members of our team were attacked with several sustaining injuries that required medical attention. It is of note that in the course of attempting to discharge their duties, first responders are being attacked.
"The agency intends to engage with the market authorities for sensitisation on fire prevention and modalities of cooperation in such incidents. The agency frowns at the assault and mistreatment of its personnel and will be carrying out an investigation."
However, the police, in a statement by the spokesman for the police command, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, refuted claims by LASEMA that the fire outbreak was caused by explosives.
The statement explained that when the state's Commissioner of Police (CP), Hakeem Odumosu, visited the scene of the fire with experts from the Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit no element of explosives was recovered.
"The CP has debunked the rumour that the Oshodi market inferno was caused by bombing or explosives. The public is hereby urged to disregard such news or rumour," the statement read.
"The CP visited the scene Friday in the company of Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit (EOD) operatives to assess the scene and give their expert opinion.
"No element of explosive was recovered from the scene. So no explosives used."