- Says mortuaries are full
Segun James in Lagos
The Lagos State Government had disclosed that residents can hold or attend funeral ceremonies during the ongoing lockdown as long as they complied with the requirements of social distancing guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19.
On this ground, the state government urged residents that had dead relatives in mortuaries statewide to bury them within two weeks, saying failure to comply with the directive would compel it to organise mass burial for them.
The state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this Saturday, directing that such funerals must take place within the next two weeks after which the government would resort to mass burials of unclaimed bodies.
He clarified that residents could hold or attend funeral ceremonies in Lagos State as long as they complied with the requirements that the state government had outlined.
He said “the total number of persons at the funeral, including officiating religious leaders, should not exceed 20. Physical distancing must be maintained at the funeral ceremony.
“All attendees must use masks and ensure they wash their hands after the ceremony. There must be no receptions or parties to accompany these funerals.
“Rest assured that as long as these directives are fully complied with, funerals will be allowed and encouraged to take place. If we are unable to decongest the mortuaries across the state in the next two weeks, the state government will be compelled to carry out mass burials to achieve this,” he said.
He explained that one of the outcomes of this lockdown “is that many families and households have had to postpone funeral plans for loved ones who have passed away before or during this period.
“Many Christian denominations do not carry out funerals during fasting period. Funerals are typically kept on hold during this period, and scheduled for the period immediately following the end of lent.
“Unfortunately, this year, the COVID-19 lockdown coincided with the end of lent, which caused many families and households to further suspend or put off funeral plans.
“Because of this inability to hold funerals due to lockdown, the mortuaries in Lagos State are now full and in urgent need of decongestion. Let me make it clear at this point that these are not COVID-19 deaths.”
He said the mortuaries “are not full because of COVID-19. The total number of COVID -19 deaths in Lagos as at today is 20. The only reason the mortuaries are full at this time is because funerals are not being held and have not been held for most of the last two months.
“I am now constrained to make this appeal to all Lagosians who have corpses of loved ones in the mortuaries, to please go ahead and schedule these funerals. Let me make it clear that funerals are on the list of activities exempted from the lockdown restrictions.”
Also yesterday, Sanwo-Olu released 209 inmates from various correctional centres in the state in order to decongest them in the wake of the COVID-19.
He said that most of the inmates were mostly those over 60 years of age, those who have less than six months to end their terms or have completed over 95 per cent of their terms.