The management of Mainland Hospital, Lagos, was reportedly directed by the state Ministry of Health not to release corpses of suspected #ENDSARS protesters.
It would be recalled 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 27thto visit the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital to identify and claim bodies of their loved ones.
The #ENDSARS protests had lasted between October 7th and 20th in Lagos and several other states of the federation.
While the protests lasted, relations, friends and associates of missing persons claimed their relations had either been killed or held incommunicado by security agents.
Of particular concern was the Lekki toll gate shooting of Tuesday, October 20, where peaceful #ENDSARS protesters were shot at by security agents, leading to yet-to-be ascertained number of casualties.
The shooting incident had attracted national and international outcry, with the Lagos State and Federal governments being urged to unravel 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.”
When a Correspondent of The Punch newspaper 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 correspondent also spoke with the Medical Director of Mainland Hospital, Dr. Abimbola Bowale, who maintained what the mortuary attendant had said.
“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,” he said.
All efforts to reach the Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; and Director, Public Affairs at the state health ministry, Mr. Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, were unsuccessful.