June 13, 2024
NewsPlus

EndSARS: Leaked Lagos Memo on N61m for Mass Burial of 103 Victims Stirs Outcry…Govt Says Bodies not from Lekki Toll Gate

A leaked memo from the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (LPPA) approving N61m for the mass burial of 103 victims of the #EndSARS protest in Lagos stirs public outcry.

The Memo:”Letter of No Objection-Mass Burial of the 103 The Year 2020 ENDSARS Victims” dated, 19th July, 2923, signed by the Director General of the agency, Mr. Onafowote Fatai Ìdòwú and addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health.

In the memo which is circulating on social media, the LSPPA approved the award of contract to Messrs TOS Funerals Limited at a total cost of N61,285,000.00(sixty one Million, Two Hundred and Eighty-Thousand Naira) only, for the mass burial for the 103, the year 2020 #EndSars victims”.

The memo showed that Governor Babajide Sanwoolu approved the mass burial contract after it scaled approval of the ministerial tenders board as well as the procurement planning committee.

The leaked internal memo results to public outcry due to the high number of deaths with many alluding that the corpses might be those of the victims of the Lekki Toll-Gate shooting.

But the state government on Sunday reacts in a statement from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye that the 103 victims were not from the Lekki Toll-Gate.
According to Ogboye, the bodies were picked up by the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit (SEHMU) in the aftermath of the EndSARS violence and community clashes from various parts of the state.
He listed the areas from where bodies were picked to include: Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orilẹ, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba,Ikeja, Ojota, Ejiro, Ogba, Isoloand Ajah areas of Lagos State.
“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”, Ogboye assured.
Recall that during the coroner’s inquest into the deaths at the EndSARS panel in 2021, chief Pathologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Professor John Oladapo Obafunwa told the panel that a total of 99 corpses including three from Lekki Toll gate were picked from different locations and deposited at the morgue.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no victim’s body was retrieved from the Lekki Toll gate incident”, Ogboye said.

The permanent secretary’s statement further reads: “Contrary to disingenuous narrative weaved around the recently approved mass burial, the #EndSARs Panel subpoenaed the Lagos State chief pathologist to produce full records of unclaimed bodies of dead deposited with state central morgue during the days immediately preceding and following the event at Lekki tollgate on 20/10/20 .
“The list with their autopsies of provable cause and circumstances of death were duly submitted and testified to before the panel .
“This subpoena was at the request of lawyers who represented #EndSARS protesters and the chief pathologist complied .

“There was not a single finding in the report or ensuing white paper attributing the death of any named citizen listed in the autopsy to the Lekki incident”, Ogboye affirmed.

He also noted that in the aftermath of the #EndSARS violence, the office of the Chief Coroner invited members of the public through public adverts and announcement who had lost loved ones or whose relatives had been declared missing between 19th and 27th October 2020 from various clashes as mentioned above, to contact the department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to help with identification of these casualties deposited in state-owned morgues.

According to Ogboye, relatives were to undergo DNA tests for identification purposes.
“It is important to state categorically that nobody responded to claim any of the bodies”, said Ogboye.

Ogboye pointed out that after almost three years in which the bodies remain unclaimed, these are adding to the congestion of the morgues.

He explained that it was the overburden and congestion at the facility that prompted the need to decongest the morgues.

He added that the process to decongest the morgue, “followed due medical procedure and legal guidelines in the event that a relative may still turn up to claim a lost relative years after the incident.”

Healthstyleplus learnt there are discussions at top government levels to use forensic test to detect how the internal memo was leaked.

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