By Gboyega Oni
Sympathizers and onlookers at the scene of the fire outbreak at the warehouse of the Nigeria Customs Service in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday blamed the Service for the fire. They said that the Service ought to have established a fire service department stationed in all its warehouses across the country rather than waiting for rescue from the state fire service in case of fire.
The fire, which its source could not be ascertained, started around 2 pm and burnt for several minutes with no rescue on sight as seized goods and vehicles worth of several millions of Naira were destroyed.
When the rescue finally came from the Lagos Fire Service, the uncoordinated parking arrangement in the warehouse made it difficult for the Fire Service officers to gain access to the warehouse. But the Controller of the Federal Operation Unit, Comptroller Uba Muhammed, under whose control the warehouse is, was seen running up and down ordering his officers and men to remove vehicles so as to create ways for the Lagos Fire Service to gain access to the place of the fire.
The sympathisers and the onlookers noted that if there were in-house fire service officers on ground, the incident would have been easily controlled and goods worth billions of Naira burnt would not have been destroyed.
They said that this should serve as a lesson and a clarion call to the management of the Nigeria Customs Service to consider the establishment of a fire service department.
They also rued the uncoordinated parking arrangement of the seized cargo in the warehouse which made it difficult for the Lagos Fire Service from gaining easy access to the place of the fire. They advised the Customs to adopt a modern cargo stacking arrangement which is ICT driven.