The Ondo Government says it has carried out a mass burial of 496 unclaimed corpses due to the urgent need to decongest and rehabilitate the Akure and Ondo morgues of the Univerdity of Medical Science Teaching Hospital (UNIMEDTH).
The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Health, Dayo Faduyile, said this on Tuesday in Akure while briefing journalists on the development.
Mr Faduyile said the move was a follow-up on an assessment tour of the morgues towards decongesting them.
He said that government officials recently embarked on an assessment tour of the morgues in the two health facilities.
He said that he observed with dismay the gory state of the morgues, being jam-packed with unclaimed bodies spanning a year and above.
Mr Faduyile said the development prompted his putting up a strong memo to the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on the urgent need to decongest and rehabilitate the morgues, which he said had turned to an eye-sore.
He added that the governor did not hesitate to approve the memo for the mass burial, to avoid imminent outbreak of epidemic diseases in the state.
The aide, who is a pathologist, said his office followed all due processes by putting necessary machinery in place for a hitch-free mass burial activity.
He identified part of the activities to include obtaining a mass burial permit from the Magistrate Court, Oke-Eda, Akure, and securing a parcel of land at Odigbo Local Government Area from the State Ministry of Lands and Housing for the mass burial.
“There was also an advertisement on the plan for the mass burial on the print and electronic media and giving a 21-day period to reclaim the unclaimed bodies, in compliance with the extent laws of the land.
“There was auditing of the unclaimed bodies in the morgues of Akure and Ondo UNIMEDTH complexes for record purposes and the certification of the unclaimed bodies to ascertain their individual causes of death.
“In all, 87 bodies were identified and known with their name tags while 409 were unknown and a total of 496 bodies underwent mass burial.
“The 21-day ultimatum as publicised on print and electronic media commenced on August 1 and lapsed on August 21, with commencement of preparations for the mass burial,” he said.
Mr Faduyile said that the mass burial was carried out on September 2, in the presence of security operatives, and “The bodies were buried in a deep grave of 10 by 10 feet wide, and 18 feet depth at the allocated land by the state government.”