Lagos State Government Prepares Bodies of 103 ENDSARS Protest Victims for Mass Burial
In an official statement on Sunday, the Lagos State Government confirmed that it is set to conduct a mass burial for the bodies of 103 victims of the 2020 ENDSARS protest.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Olusegun Ogboye, clarified that none of the bodies being buried were retrieved from the Lekki tollgate incident.
103 EndSARS Protest Victims
Ogboye emphasized that the bodies were collected by the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit in the aftermath of the #EndSARS violence and community clashes that occurred in various areas, including Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo, and Ajah.
The statement was issued in response to media reports referring to a letter requesting funds for the mass burial of the #EndSARS victims. The letter, dated July 19 and from the public procurement agency, revealed that the state government had engaged the services of Messrs Tos Funeral Ltd, a private firm, at a cost of N61,285,000 for the burial.
Ogboye clarified that the content of the letter had been misinterpreted and sensationalized to create misinformation and public disaffection against the Lagos State Government. He explained that the mass burial was necessary because no one had come forward to claim the bodies despite public appeals by the Chief Coroner through advertisements. The appeals were made to those who had lost loved ones or had family members declared missing between October 19 and 27, 2020.
According to Ogboye, the bodies had remained unclaimed for almost three years, leading to morgue congestion. The decision to proceed with the mass burial followed careful medical and legal procedures to account for the possibility of relatives turning up to claim the bodies years after the incidents occurred.
The periodic and regular decongestion of public morgues is an approved measure by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to create space in mortuaries that hold a large number of unclaimed bodies.
The #EndSARS protest was a large-scale demonstration by Nigerian youths against police brutality and social injustice, which spanned approximately three weeks in October 2020.
While the protests took place in various locations, the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State served as a focal point for protesters, who engaged in peaceful demonstrations, communal activities, and expressions of national unity. However, on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, Nigerian forces dispersed the protesters at the location by firing gunshots, leading to tragic consequences.
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