Senior lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana says that no fewer than 70 corpses dumped in mortuaries in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in Lagos have remained unclaimed.
He spoke against the backdrop of a November 19 announcement by Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Mojisola Dada, in which she called on families that lost loved ones between October 19 and 27 to visit the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, identify the corpses and claim them.
Falana, who is the interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), said only 20 out of the 98 bodies have been claimed a month after the announcement.
The senior lawyer said that many families have not come forward either because they did not know that their relatives have died or they were afraid.
“About 98 dead bodies were dumped in various mortuaries out of which three were dumped there on October 20. However, less than 20 relatives have shown up at the mortuaries to identify their loved ones and take them for burial.
“Investigations by ASCAB show that people are quietly mourning their dead and some are afraid. Others haven’t confirmed that they lost anybody. So far, less than 20 relatives have come to identify their loved ones. This is over a month after the announcement
“Some didn’t know their loved ones were there. Some have accepted their fate as an act of God,” The Punch quoted Falana to have said
He added that it was not usual for family members not to come forward to claim their dead relatives due to fear.
Falana said that the same scenario played out in December 2015 when 347 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were buried in mass graves after being killed by the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.
In that instance, he said, only 15 families came forward.
The senior lawyer further recalled that a presidential panel found that 943 persons were killed in the violence that trailed the 2011 general election but very few families came forward to admit that their relatives were killed.