Residents defy police ban, as banger rocks Ogun 

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Residents of Ogun state have defied police order on the ban of the use of explosive fireworks popularly called banger during the yuletide season.

The match firecracker, known as knockout or banger, has emerged as the go-to unofficial notification system for the Nigerian Christmas season. Usage of knockouts has become one of the points of celebrations in Nigeria.

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But in Ogun State, the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu had on Monday 13th November 2023 in a statement announced the ban.

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Alamutu noted that the ban was imposed in response to worrisome complaints from residents in Sagamu, Ijebu Ode, Ikenne, and Sango Ota about the loud sound, adding that it threatens residents’ peace of mind and causes uneasiness.

Alamutu clarified that the restriction was implemented in response to people’ upsetting complaints about the deafening sound from Sagamu, Ijebu Ode, Ikenne, and Sango Ota. He added that the prohibition puts residents’ mental health at risk and increases their worry.

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The commissioner also warned that disobeying the directive and intentional violations will result in punitive sanctions in accordance with extant laws as residents have been forced to endure sleepless nights and constant terror due to their incapacity to distinguish between gunshots and real fireworks.

The statement partly reads: “The Ogun State Police Command is inundated with report indices  coming from residents since the 1st of November 2023 especially in Sagamu, Ijebu Ode, Ikenne and Sango Ota, over the indiscriminate use of dangerous fireworks popularly called “banga” that the deafening sound of it threatens the state of peace of mind and triggering anxiety of residents especially amid security concerns expressed by residents in Ogun State.

“Following these reports of apprehension before the Ogun State Police Command, the Commissioner of Police CP ALAMUTU ABIODUN MUSTAPHA has henceforth declared a ban on indiscriminate use of explosive  fireworks in Ogun State upholding the distressing complaints from residents and the community about their inability to differentiate between gunshots and genuine fireworks, that residents have been thrown to sleepless night, constant terror from the deafening bang from these dangerous explosives. 

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Despite the ban, the loud noise of bangers have been rocking different parts of the state.  

In Abeokuta, the state capital, OgunWatch observed usage of knockouts during Christmas carols, night outs, parties and other forms of celebration in the mood of the season. 

OgunWatch observed that even at the just concluded Ogun state Christmas carol held on Tuesday at the Arcade ground of the governor’s office Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, several fireworks were used to add glamour to the celebration.

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Walking around Panseke at night is no longer safe as kids and youth throw banger on people just “to have fun.”  

A resident of Abeokuta told OgunWatch that the ban failed to work due to lack of enforcement.  

“I feel indifferent about any regulation that is done because Nigeria seems to me as a lawless country where people do what they like and still get away with it.

“So, bringing a ban on banger which is something that there is no instituted authority that can monitor it perfectly is likely not to work because even today I heard some and saw young boys throw banger even in the market place so that particular ban cannot be effective,” the residents said.

Some sellers, making brisk business, said they are not aware of the ban.

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