By Davidson Iriekpen
Following the furore over the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters in Lagos State by troops of the Nigerian Army on October 20, 2020, the state Chief Coroner, Justice Mojisola Ayoka Dada, has advised Lagos residents looking for their loved ones that are missing to contact the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
This was contained in an advertorial published yesterday.
Justice Dada, who also doubles as a judge of the High Court of Lagos State, gave the directive pursuant to Section 15 of the Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State 2015.
Although the announcement is statutory and normal, it is coming at a time when there is furore over the killing of protesters in the state during the #EndSARS protests when security officers allegedly killed several protesters.
Besides, the announcement stated a timeframe, October 19-27, 2020, which coincided with the time of the shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, and the mayhem that took place across Lagos afterwards.
The full public announcement signed by Justice Dada herself, read: “This is to notify the General Public that the Chief Coroner of Lagos State, Justice M. A. Dada 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 October 19-27, 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 recognised means of identification such as International passport, driver’s licence, 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 10a.m. to 2p.m. for the next two weeks starting from the date of this announcement.
“Please note that these next-of-kin shall be required to come with the following: clear photographs of the missing person; 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.”