Maritime publishers condemn NPA’s building inferno, demand investigation
The League of Maritime Editors and Publishers Wednesday condemned the fire incident on the headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) linked to the ongoing ENDSARS protests nationwide.
However, while sympathizing with the authority and the various members of staff whose vehicles were razed down on the enormity of the damage, the League, which is a body of maritime journalists, called for a thorough investigation on the cause of the inferno.
In a statement by the President, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke and Secretary, Mr. Francis Ugwoke, the group suspects that the fire incident may be the mastermind of some elements in the system who may have organised the inferno to cover up fraud.
The League further called for an independent panel of Inquiry or body to carry out investigation into the incident to unravel the mystery behind the inferno.
The group said that having monitored the protests in many parts of Lagos, NPA Marina was not known to have been attacked by the ENDSARS protesters, neither was there any protest on Marina street nor was NPA or a staff linked to anybody who could have put the edifice on fire.
Besides, The League wonders the preventive action taken by the retinue of security officials, including special ports police officers who have their head office in the building to prevent the fire outbreak.
The NPA Head office is where the Ports Police Commissioner has office as well.
It is also surprising that the EKO DISCO office that is sharing the same fence or closest to NPA was not touched, especially when everybody is still unhappy with the recent power tariff increase, which is a subject of the protest.
It is equally incredible that the NPA Fire Service department is directly opposite the head office on fire yet there was no account of a swift response on their part to put the fire out as they watch it engulf a wing of the building and consumed too many official and private vehicles parked at the inner garage.
“We feel embittered about the fire incident, but we suspect that some people may have taken advantage of the ENDSARS protests in Lagos to also destroy some vital documents as a way of concealing fraud. This is what the scenario felt like. So, we want an investigation to be carried out on the incident.
“We want to know the time that protesters or hoodlums visited the building. We want to know what the police officers and other security officials working in NPA were doing when the building was touched. We suspect foul play as some unscrupulous elements may have embarked on a cover up. We therefore urge the Hadiza Bala-Usman-led management to swing into action to uncover this sinister motive.”
In the statement, the League also condemned the attack on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate that led to the killing of many innocent youths.
The group said it was sad that what was a peaceful protest was hijacked by hoodlums in some places who may have been sponsored by unidentifiable elements for whatever interests.
The group called on the Lagos state government to do everything to ensure that innocent lives and properties are protected in all parts of the state, henceforth.
The group commiserates with the families and relations of the victims of the protesters whose lives were cut short by soldiers working for the government.
The League also called on the intervention of the United Nations, UK, US and other well-meaning countries into the unfolding crises in Nigeria before it degenerates into refugees- breeding monster.