The Lagos State Government on Sunday confirmed that it has scheduled for mass burial bodies of 103 EndSARS protest victims.
A statement by the permanent secretary in the ministry of health, Olusegun Ogboye, however, stated that none of the bodies meant for burial was a victim at the Lekki tollgate.
“For the records, the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit picked up bodies in the aftermath of #EndSARS violence and community clashes at Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah areas of Lagos state,” Ogboye said.
“There was also a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison. The 103 casualties mentioned in the document were from these incidents and NOT from Lekki Toll-gate as being alleged. For the avoidance of doubt, no body was retrieved from the Lekki Toll Gate incident.”
Ogboye’s statement was responding to media reports citing a letter for the approval of funds for a mass burial for victims of EndSARS protest in 2020.
The letter dated July 19 by the public procurement agency disclosed that the state government engaged the service of Messrs Tos Funeral Ltd, a private firm, at the cost of N61,285,000 to bury 103 bodies that were identified as victims of the killings.
However, Ogboye said the content of the letter was being deliberately misinterpreted and sensationalized “to misinform the public, stir public sentiment and cause public disaffection against the Lagos State Government.”
He explained that the mass burial was being held because “nobody responded to claim any of the bodies” after the Chief Coroner through adverts invited members of the public who had lost loved ones or whose relatives had been declared missing between 19th and 27th October 2020.
“However, after almost three years, the bodies remain unclaimed, adding to the congestion of the morgues. This spurred the need to decongest the morgues – a procedure that follows very careful medical and legal guidelines in the event that a relative may still turn up to claim a lost relative years after the incident,” Ogboye said.
“Decongestion of our public morgues is a periodic and regular exercise approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to free up space in mortuaries that have a large number of unclaimed bodies.”