The Chief Medical Director, Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Dr. Akindele Semudara has revealed that morgue at the hospital is over-congest with heaps of unclaimed corpses.
Dr. Semudara said the number dead bodies has become the greatest challenge the hospital management is contending with, adding that it is as a result of increasing rate of accidents along the Benin-Ore-Lagos Highway, where speeding and reckless driving is the order of the day.
“We record a high number of accident victims during this “Ember months’’ as officials of the Ondo State Rescue Operations bring corpses of unclaimed accident victims to the hospital daily.
“At a point, the Odigbo Local Government Council in Ondo State told the hospital management that it had no more land for mass burial of the accident victims. “However, at a particular time, the state government came to our rescue before the management of the hospital could carry out a mass burial.
“We are currently facing the same challenge now, but we have been talking to the state government to come to our rescue again,” the stated.
Semudara also urged motorists to always ensure that their vehicles were in good condition before embarking on journeys and to be patient and cautious while driving. He implored the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to sensitise motorists on traffic rules, to reduce crashes on highways.
In 2016, records revealed various states in Nigeria with cases of abandoned corpses. BuzzNigeria gathered that apart from accident victims, the bulk of corpses were abandoned by dubious relatives who provided fake contact addresses after depositing dead bodies. Some mortuary attendants told our correspondents that the relatives of many of such deceased persons no longer pick their calls.
Also compounding the number of unclaimed corpses are those of mentally challenged victims who died on the street as well as accident victims and suspected armed robbers killed by security agents
The situation is reportedly so dire in Cross River State that over 1,000 unclaimed corpses are currently in public and private mortuaries in the state.
According to a private mortician operating in Ikom Local Government Area of the state, Mr. Emeka Ben-Chima, over 300 corpses had been left unclaimed in his mortuary and others for several years with some deposited as far back as 2010.
Only with government approval will hospital officials be able to depose abandoned corpses. Following due procedures, the government would announce its intention in the media and a deadline would be set.
Meanwhile, not all parts of the country are affected by such dilemma. Finding shows hospitals in the northern are not affected as one of the Islamic laws required immediate burial of bodies of deceased persons within a day of their death.