The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) says some form of explosives caused the fire outbreak at a section of Kairo market in Oshodi-Isolo LGA of Lagos state.
The inferno, which torched over 90 structures, started around 8pm on Thursday.
The fabric section of the market was the most affected, with millions worth of goods destroyed.
Giving an update on the incident, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, director-general of LASEMA, said “initial investigations suggest that some form of explosives/accelerants were used; indicating some foul play”.
According to him, 66 shops, 22 containerised shops and four offices were affected.
Oke-Osanyintolu said officials of the agency were attacked while trying to put out the fire.
“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 sensitization on fire prevention and modalities of cooperation in such incidents.
“The agency frowns on the assault and mistreatment of its personnel and will be carrying out an investigation.”
However, Hakeem Odumosu, the state commissioner of police, says there is no truth to the claim that the fire was caused by an explosive.
“The rumour going around that it was a bomb should be dismissed,” Odumosu said.
“The tension is already high in the country and we should not make inflammatory statements.
“That’s why I am here with my technical team, the bomb experts in the police and they have gone round and no proof the fire was caused by a bomb. It has been ruled out that there was a bomb explosion here. No bomb was found here. So people should allow the fire service and the police to conduct their investigation and when the report from their laboratory comes out, we will make a statement.”