Ondo Govt conducts mass burial for unclaimed corpses after 21-day ultimatum

By Friday Omosola

Ondo State Government has carried out a mass burial of four hundred and ninety-six (496) unclaimed corpses at the health facilities as part of efforts geared toward decongesting the morgues at the Akure and Ondo complexes of the State University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital (UNIMEDTH).

The Head, Press Unit and Public Relations, Ministry of Health, Bisi Lawani, in a statement on Tuesday, said the move was a follow-up to an assessment tour of morgues in the two hospitals.

The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Health, Prof Dayo Faduyile, was quoted to have disclosed this while briefing journalists on the development in his office in Akure, the state capital.

Faduyile revealed that his recent assessment tour of the morgues in the two health facilities with other officials in the state, shows the gory state of the morgues that have been jam-packed with unclaimed bodies spanning a year and above.

The Special Adviser said the development prompted him to put up a strong memo to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on the urgent need to decongest and rehabilitate the morgues, which had turned into an eye-sore.

He said the governor approved the memo to carry out the proposed mass burial activities without hesitation to avoid an imminent outbreak of epidemic diseases in the state.

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He said as a professional pathologist, he averred his office followed all due processes by putting all necessary machinery in place for quality and hitch-free mass burial activities.

He said these include obtaining a mass burial permit from the Chief Magistrate of the Magistrate Court of Justice, Oke-Eda, Akure, securing a parcel of land at Odigbo Local Government from the State Ministry of Lands and Housing for the mass burial, advertising the mass burial on the print and electronic media, giving 21 days to reclaim the unclaimed bodies, in compliance with the extant laws of the land.

Others, according to Faduyile, are the auditing of the unclaimed bodies in the morgues of Akure and Ondo UNIMEDTH complexes for record purposes and the certification of the unclaimed bodies to ascertain their causes of death.

“In all, eighty-seven (87) bodies were identified/known with their name tags while four hundred and nine (409) were unknown and a total of four hundred and ninety-six (496) bodies underwent mass burial.

“The 21-day ultimatum as publicised on prints and electronic media commenced on the 1st of August and elapsed on the 21st of August, 2022. Thereafter, preparations for the mass burial commenced.

“On Friday, September 2, 2022, the mass burial was carried out, with the protection of security operatives and a handful of pressmen. The bodies were buried in a deep grave of 10 by 10 feet wide, and 18 feet depth, at the allocated land by the State government.”

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