The Lagos State Chief Coroner, Mojisola Dada, has called on members of the public whose family members are missing to contact the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
In a public announcement issued by Mrs Dada, who doubles as a judge of Lagos State High Court, family members whose loved ones got missing between October 19 to 27 are to visit LASUTH to identify the corpses.
The hours of visit are between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the next two weeks.
This announcement comes on the heels of the Lekki shooting incident, where some peaceful protesters were killed, several injured and others missing.
There were other records of violence in Lagos following the incident where many persons were reportedly killed.
Pelumi Onifade, a young journalist with GboahTV, died in the custody of police officers after he was arrested while covering an incident at the Abbatoir area of the state.
A chief coroner is a government official, often a judge, who has the powers to conduct an inquest into the cause of death of unknown persons that died within his state, and also confirm their identity.
According to law, a chief coroner investigates “suspicious death” that takes place within his or her locality and subsequent prosecution of persons responsible for the death.
In the public announcement, the chief coroner said the directive is pursuant to Section 15 of the Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State 2015.
Family members are expected to go with valid means of identification to be allowed to identify missing loved ones.
Below is the public announcement:
“This is to notify the General Public that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Hon Justice M. A. Dada (Mrs.) pursuant to Section 15, Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State, 2015 the Pathology Team would want all those who have lost loved ones between 19th – 27th October 2020 (that is, next-of-kin of the victims) to provide relevant information that would assist the identification exercise.
“The next-of kin should kindly contact the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja for the identification exercise of the Deceased.
The next-of-kin will be required to provide means of identification of themselves and their loved ones. Nationally recognized means of identification such as International passport, Driver’s license, National ID card or LASSRA ID Card shall be accepted.
Only the parents, siblings or children, in that decreasing order of preference are expected to come to LASUTH. The hours of visit shall be from 10:00am to 2:00pm for the next two (2) weeks starting from the date of this Announcement.
Please note that these next-of-kin shall be required to come with the following:
1. clear photographs of the missing person;
2. their own upper body photographs; and also provide samples for Reference DNA Profile, where necessary.
This profile will be compared with those already collected at autopsy from the deceased. It is only after a definitive scientific identification that the Bodies of the deceased shall be released by the Office of the Chief Coroner to the next-of-kin for burial.