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Friday, June 9, 2023

BRT murder: Bamise’s family raises alarm over N500,000 mortuary debt

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The family of late Bamise Ayanwola, who died after boarding a Bus Rapid Transit vehicle in Lagos State, have raised the alarm that the Mainland Hospital mortuary, Yaba, in custody of the corpse has allegedly requested for the N500,000 from them.

Speaking with the Punch, the deceased’s elder brother, Pelumi, said the money forms part of the payment for depositing the corpse in the morgue.

Pelumi said, “The head of the mortuary attendants at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, called my elder brother, Oluwatobi, to inform him that nobody had been coming to check on her corpse and nobody had paid anything after the autopsy was carried out.

“The person said the bills were accumulating and demanded that we come. My brother asked if we were the ones they should be calling for that. My brother later went to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, to verify why they said we should be paying when we were not the one that brought her corpse to that place.

“At Panti, we were told that after the autopsy was carried out, the responsibility was on us and that it was no longer under their care and that our family was to be paying the bill. My brother went to the mortuary to collect the bill and the amount as of two weeks ago was N499,200. But the money is over N500,000 now.”

Lamenting further, Pelumi noted that the longer Bamise’s corpse stayed in the morgue, the more the entire family get traumatized.

He added that the 22-year-old deserved a burial sponsored by the government since she was allegedly killed while on a state-owned commercial bus.

“As a family, aside from the justice that we have been clamouring for, we believe that the circumstances that led to her death shows that she fought hard and the situation exposed darkness in the Lagos Bus Services Limited and some governmental set-ups.

“So, we believe she died a hero and we want her to be buried as such. We want her to be given a state burial and immortalised.

“The LBSL is still operating, but as a family, we are still crying every day. Nothing has stopped their operation since the incident happened about eight months ago. Since the incident, we have not heard anything from LBSL; no official visit to our house by any representatives,” Pelumi stated.

Bamise was declared missing after boarding a BRT vehicle in February this year..

Her body was later found by the roadside on Carter Bridge, Lagos Island. Consequently, the driver of the vehicle, Nice Omininikoron, was arrested and arraigned for murder.

But the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, had promised that the LBSL would settle the mortuary bills and take care of the burial expenses.

He said, “I have spoken with the Managing Director of the LBSL, and he continues to sympathise with the family and he says that he will not expect them to look for that kind of money to pay.

“I really do not know what they mean by a state burial. Is it the kind of burial that a state flag should fly at half-mast or is it the kind of burial that security agency services will be marching and we have a colourful and ceremonial spectacle?

“But if it is to settle the expenses incurred in the cost of the burial, I think the company will not leave them alone. Whatever they need to make them comfortable, I am saying, on behalf of the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has always sympathised with them, they will get it concerning the burial.”

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