A few days ago, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, Ari Mohammed Ali, issued a warning against the use of incendiaries popularly known as knockout in the state during the Christmas and New Year festivities as it has become the practice over the years to ‘celebrate’ the season with Fireworks especially by the youths and even some adults.
The same warning has similarly been given by some other police authorities in recent days. This was ostensibly due to some experience in past years which had shown that some criminal elements used to cash in, on such free use of ‘knockout’ to unleash terror on residents who obviously may have mistaken sound of gunshot to be knockout fired by excited Christmas or New Year celebrants.
The warning from the law enforcement agency is though not new as it has always been an annual directive by state commissioners of police, yet the question begging for answer is, how effective has the warning ever been?
By issuing the yearly warning against the use of Fireworks, the police may be seen to be performing its statutory duty of crime prevention, but we would not hesitate to say that it is not enough to give warning not backed up with action. The warning can at best be seen as a routine exercise that does not have action in it because the indiscriminate firing of knockouts has already begun in a place like Lagos without the offenders being arrested.
We will like to posit that if truly the use of Fireworks has been outlawed by the law enforcement agency, the supply source ought to be the main focus of the police because it is undeniable that if there is no supply, certainly there would be no buyers and users of the product.
We would therefore suggest that as the police want to prevent criminals from capitalising on the prevalent use of knockouts during the Yuletide Season, they should go a step further by preventing traders from selling the product.
The ban order should be stepped up with proactive action that would make it extremely difficult for any one to see the product to buy. The government can outrightly ban the importation of Fireworks. If they are locally manufactured, the producing companies should be banned from producing same.
As the Yuletide Season is here already with Christmas just five days away, there is certainly going to be a re-enactment of the yearly celebration with Fireworks rending the sky except police decide to act decisively.
We shall conclude by insisting that if truly police want to enforce the ban on fireworks, they should begin with the supply source which includes the importers and their wholesale and retail distributors.