The interim chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Femi Falana, says over 70 corpses of victims of security agents’ shooting during the #EndSARS protests in Lagos have yet to be claimed.
Falana, an activist, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who was interviewed by The Punch on Sunday, mentioned that only about 20 families had showed up to claim the bodies.
The Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Mojisola Dada, in a public announcement on November 19, called on relatives of the victims to come to the Lagos State Teaching Hospital to identify and claim bodies of their loved ones.
Falana, however, said many people were not aware that their relatives had been killed, and others might have left the “matter to God.”
He said, “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 senior lawyer elucidated how this was not the first-time people would fail to come and claim corpses of their relatives. He recalled the killing of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State in 2015 by the Nigerian Army when only 15 relatives out of the 347 buried in mass graves came forward.
Speaking further, Falana said most of the relatives of the 938 persons killed in the riots that ensued after the announcement of the 2011 presidential election result did not come forward.
“The Ahmed Lemu presidential panel determined that 943 persons were killed in 11 states in the post-election violence, but very few relatives showed up. So, these sorts of things are not new,” he said.