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 Monday, 27 January, 2003, 15:53 GMT
Nigeria remembers deadly barracks blast
Coffins stand ready for sale outside the Ikeja mortuary in Lagos
Bodies were still being found a week after the disaster
Nigerians have been commemorating the first anniversary of an explosion at an arms depot in Lagos a year ago in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

Nigeria must never allow any inhumanity like this to happen again in our country

Bola Tinubu
Lagos Governor
The BBC's Sola Odunfa in Lagos says that a year on, there is no official record of how many actually lost their lives in the blast in an army cantonment in the Ikeja district of Lagos.

Most of the victims drowned in a canal after being trampled underfoot in a stampeding mass of people fleeing the explosion.

Our correspondent says that many Nigerians are critical of the authorities, who have not taken any steps to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

Lost son

On Monday, a year to the day after the tragedy, Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu presided over a ceremony during which wreaths were laid near the site at the canal, where 200 unclaimed bodies of victims of the disaster were buried.

A stone memorial to the victims was unveiled in front of hundreds of people, including members of the clergy and government.

Fire at Nigerian army dump
High-calibre weapons exploded in the fire

"Nigeria must never allow any inhumanity like this to happen again in our country," Mr Tinubu said.

An inter-denominational Church service was held on Sunday to mark the anniversary, and Muslims on Friday held prayers in memory of the victims.

About 500 children were declared missing after the blast. Some have since been found, but others are still unaccounted for, including Theresa Emmanuel's son.

"We heard a bomb explosion, and everybody started running," Mrs Emmanuel says.

"I ran with my children - there are three. On my way running with them, I fell down, then I lost one."

She says that her husband looked for their son everywhere in Lagos, and that she is still hoping to find him.

Homeless

Thousands of people were made homeless by the explosion, and some are still in need of assistance for their accommodation.

Diver searching for bodies
Many of those missing were young children

But the government has dismissed them as economic refugees keen to exploit the tragedy.

The authorities are yet to take measures to make sure a disaster on such a scale could not happen again.

"Both the federal and state government are dialoguing... to fashion out a scheme that will be needed to cope with this sort of crisis," an official told the BBC.

"It is going to be quite some time before we can cope in this part of the world."

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  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Sola Odunfa on Network Africa
"Some people are still to be accounted for."

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