The management of Mainland Hospital, Lagos, says the Lagos state government has directed it not to release corpses suspected to be remains of #EndSARS protesters.
The hospital disclosed that the directive is from the state Ministry of Health.
You would recall that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Mrs. Mojisola Dada, via a public announcement, directed relatives who had lost loved ones between October 19th and 27th to visit the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital to identify and claim bodies of their loved ones.
In October, thousands of citizens, especially youth, thronged the streets of major cities across the country to protests against brutality. The demonstration which lasted for about two weeks ended on a sordid and devastating note after soldiers opened fore on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll-gate leaving many dead and others injured.
The incident sparked outrage both at the local and international scene.
Following the incident, reports of missing persons became pervasive as people claimed their relations had either been killed or held incommunicado by security agents.
There have been strident calls for Lagos State and Federal governments being divulge the identity of the shooters and who deployed them.
The public notice by the Lagos State coroner did not, however, state if the bodies that had been scheduled for release also included those of persons who died during the #EndSARS protest.
It reads in part, “This is to notify the General Public that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Hon Justice M. A. Dada (Mrs.) pursuant to Section 15, Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State, 2015 the Pathology Team would want all those who have lost loved ones between 19th – 27th October 2020 (that is, next-of-kin of the victims) to provide relevant information that would assist the identification exercise.
“The next-of kin should kindly contact the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja for the identification exercise of the Deceased.”
However, PUNCH newspaper said when its correspondent visited the Mainland Hospital mortuary in Yaba, Lagos, on Friday, the front desk staff said there was a clear directive from the state government for dieners [morgue attendants] to release only the bodies of those who died before and after the #ENDSARS protests.
The Medical Director of Mainland Hospital, Dr. Abimbola Bowale, also corroborated the stance of the mortuary attendant, saying it’s only the commissioner and the governor that have the power to release any corpse.
“It is only the commissioner (of health) or even Mr. Governor that can release the body to you, Sir. So, you will have to contact him,” PUNCH quoted him to have said. .