The Lagos State Government has given go-ahead to families, who have corpses in mortuaries but have not been able to bury them in the last two months because of the restriction occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus to do so within the next two weeks.
It said the permission was because mortuaries are getting congested and government may be compelled to carry out mass burial if there is no decongestion in the next two weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave the go- ahead on Saturday at a press conference in Lagos House Marina.
The Governor said the directive became inevitable because mortuaries in Lagos were getting to their peak because of corpses awaiting funeral before the outbreak of coronavirus and others that have passed on in the last two months of outbreak and restrictions.
Sanwo-Olu, however, made it clear that the corpses are not as result of death from coronavirus, adding that the state has only recorded 18 cases of death from COVID-19.
“These are not COVID-19 deaths in any form, funerals have not been held in the last two months or so, so congestion is not as a result of death from covid-19 which is only 18 recorded so far in the state,” he clariefied.
The Governor therefore appealed to Lagosians who have corpses in the mortuaries to go ahead and schedule the funerals, adding that funerals are on the list of exemption from the lockdown restrictions.
These requirements, the Governor said, are: funerals must exceed 20 persons, including the officiating ministers, physical distancing must be maintained at all funeral ceremonies, all attendees or mourners must wear face masks as well as wash their hands before and after the ceremony and there must not be any form of parties or reception that would accompany the funeral ceremonies.
“As long as you keep these directives and you fully comply with them, funerals would be allowed and encouraged to take place immediately.
“If we are unable to see a decongestion of the mortuaries across the state within the next two weeks, Lagos state government will now be compelled to seek to have mass burial and we don’t want to force this on anybody, that is why we are asking for the cooperation of all of us”, Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor also disclosed that he has signed the release of 209 inmates remanded in various correctional centres in Lagos.
“In exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 212 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have this afternoon, following the recommendation of the advisory council on prerogative of mercy signed a release order for 209 inmates remanded in our various correctional centres in Lagos.
“This was done in part to decongest the correctional centers in view of the covid-19 pandemic and it is also part of a larger effort to bring lasting reform to the administration of criminal justice in our country,” he said.