1,000 Igbo corpses await clearance in Lagos mortuaries —Ohanaeze

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 30th, 2014
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No fewer than 1,000 corpses of Igbo people are awaiting clearance in various mortuaries in Lagos State, the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the state, Chief Fabian Onwughalu, has said.

He blamed the development on the Federal Government’s ban on inter-state movement of corpses in the country.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khairu Al-Hassan, announced the Federal Government‘s decision 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.

Bemoaning 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 is fraught with bottlenecks that cause untold hardship for the people. He described the process as a violation of the Igbo culture.

To enable bereaved families take the corpses of their  members home for burial, he 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.”

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