Ebola: 1,000 Corpses Await Clearance In Lagos

Following Federal Government’s ban on
inter-state movement of corpses in the
country because of the outbreak of the
Ebola virus
, no fewer than 1,000 corpses of Igbo
people are awaiting clearance in various
mortuaries in Lagos State.
This disclosure was made on Friday, 29
August, 2014, by the President of Ohanaeze
Ndigbo in Lagos State, Chief Fabian
Onwughalu.
It would be recalled that the Minister of State
for Health, Dr. Khairu Al-Hassan, announced
FG’s decision to ban movement of corpses
across the country at a meeting held at
African House, Government House, Kano
recently.
He said it was part of the means the
government is exploiting to curtail the
spread of the disease in the country.
Speaking on the plight of the deceased and
their relations, Chief Onwughalu said: “As I
am talking to you now, there are over 1000
dead bodies of Igbo people waiting at
various morgues only here in Lagos State for
movement to their homeland.
“The ugly development has serious effect on
the families of the deceased because in Igbo
land, we believe that the moment a late
family member is buried, the pains of losing
him will gradually fade away. But in a
situation where you keep the body of a
deceased family member unnecessarily, the
pains will be increasing.
“The Federal Government should rescind the
decision or decentralise the authority.”
Asked what the body was doing to address
the problem, he said: “At the highest level,
we believe there are consultations going on.
But we are worried that it is taking too long
to yield fruits.”
He added that the sole authority vested in
the minister to give clearance to bereaved
families before they can take their dead
relations home as a violation of the Igbo
culture.
The Ohanese chieftain advised that “the
Federal Government should authorise other
government health officers and doctors to
issue certificates to bereaved families to
enable them carry the remains of their
deceased ones home for burial.
“If the authority to issue certificate is
decentralised such that federal health
centres and teaching hospitals would be
able to attend to bereaved families and give
them certificates within a short time, it will
enable our people to convey the remains of
their beloved ones to their ancestral homes
in line with the traditions of their people.”
Since a Liberia diplomat, Patrick Sawyerr
brought the Ebola virus into Lagos on 20
July 2014
, no fewer than six people have been
confirmed dead from the deadly disease
while o ver 160 people have been place on
observation in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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