Edo Gives September 9 as Deadline for Morgue Operators to Obtain Licences

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Edo State Government has declared September 9 as the deadline for mortuary operators to obtain their operational licences and get approval from the Edo State Ministry of Health.

The Commissioner for Health, Professor Obehi Akoria, issued this directive yesterday at a press briefing alongside security operatives to give update on the suspected ritual shrine recently uncovered by security agencies in Benin City.  

Akoria equally urged owners of mortuary homes who have registered to present their proof of registration to her ministry latest on September 30 this year.

According to her, “the Edo State Ministry of Health is using this opportunity to reach out to all persons who own or operate mortuaries or embalmment homes to come to the ministry’s Directorate of Regulation and Monitoring, with evidence of due registration if they are duly registered latest by September 30.

“However, for those who are not duly registered, we are giving till the close of business on September 9, for them to present themselves to the ministry of health, where we will give them the basic requirements for operation of mortuaries or embalmment homes in the state.”

On his part, the Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigative Department, Edo State Police Command, Mr. Olawore Oluwole, said in the course of investigation regarding the discovery of mummified bodies at a private morgue, there were interfaces with medical personnel,  lawyers, members of the public, representatives of the Benin Traditional Council, families of those who deposited corpses as well as pathologist.

“Following investigations by the command’s team and health personnel led by the Commissioner for Health, some documents were recovered portraying to be an approved location from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability.

“However, the principal suspect, Mr. Gabriel Otuu, later reported and made statements, and some other hospitals and mortuaries were equally visited and the following facts emerged.

“The principal suspect didn’t acquire formal training but only worked at different mortuaries as a mortuary attendant. The principal suspect doesn’t have the certificate to practice as a mortician or any certification from the traditional board, ministry of health, ministry of environment or any other appropriate certification.

“The building utilised by him was not certified nor approved by the Ministry of Health or environment. Other facts revealed is that the mortuary is not a layout for trado-medical institution,” Oluwole said.

He also added that “23 embalmed corpses as well as dismembered mummified body without a skull were found and it depicts an unlawful possession and violates section 329 of the criminal code.

“There were also sacrilegious effigies found at the scene; some inside while others are outside. These depict criminal elements in his possession and against section 213 of the criminal code. Some specimens were extracted and has been sent to experts for forensic analysis,” he said

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