TWO families, yesterday, laid claim to the same corpse of the Dana air
crash which degenerated into abusive exchanges at the Lekan Ogunsola
Memorial mortuary of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital,
LASUTH, Ikeja. This came as an unidentified relation of one of the deceased attacked LASUTH officials with a machete.
Trouble started when relations of late Mr. Jones Ifekanwa and that of
another victim, identified a body of one of the victims as theirs.
Findings by Vanguard revealed that earlier, Chief Medical Examiner,
LASUTH and Consultant Pathologist and Forensic Medicine expert, Prof.
John Obafunwa, had invited the Ifekanwa family to identify their late
brother’s corpse which they did with some difficulty unlike last week
when they said the body was easily identifiable.
family, it was gathered, after being invited to identify its corpse,
eventually picked the same corpse earlier selected by the Ifekanwa
family, as their late brother who died in the same air crash. An
argument ensued and Obafunwa was forced to deny both families any claim
to the body. He rather, urged them to wait for the DNA test result that
would be available in about four weeks.
Enraged, the two families engaged in verbal war and came close to exchanging blows but for the intervention of security men.
It was gathered that while the Ifekanwas were very sure the body they
identified was their late brother’s, members of the other family told
Obafunwa they were not so sure that the body was actually theirs.
The Ifekanwa family, however, complained of the deplorable state of the
corpse who they said was their youngest sibling, saying yesterday was
the third time they had come to identify him. In their view, the corpse
was getting worse with time.
A visibly shaken Jennifer Enanana,
elder sister to the late Jones Ifekanwa told newsmen: ”I am testifying
just for my brother, Mr. Jones Ifekanwa. He was identified at the crash
site. He wasn’t burnt. He had his identity card with him and some other
documents in his pockets, with that they identified him.
we were there last Tuesday, it did not take them up to five minutes to
get him to us. They even told us that we were very lucky, so they wrote
his name on the body bag he was in. When we went in there, we identified
his clothes and birth marks on him and everything was okay. They told
us that within 48 hours he would be released. But that was not to be
because they said they wanted to do DNA.
“So on Saturday we
went back to check if he was properly taken care of, we found out that
he was getting worse. His face was peeling off, he was deteriorating and
I expressed my grievances and I told them that I did not like this and
asked them when they were going to release his body to us.
“Luckily enough, Fashola said we should meet him on Sunday, which most
of us did. The place was packed with people. It was agreed there that
all identified bodies should be released. Can you imagine as at last
Friday, they had released six bodies without us knowing.
“Meanwhile, they were claiming to us that they need DNA but they were
releasing bodies without people knowing. Six bodies have gone out. It
was yesterday (Monday) that we got to know about it.
“So this morning (yesterday) I and my family came to claim our body
that had been identified by them and confirmed by us to be our brother,
only for us to get there, Prof. Obafunwa took us in again, traumatising
my family to identify the body that had already been identified by them
and confirmed and identified by us.
“They took us in and they
wrapped him up as if it was a gift pack showing just his face not his
ears, not his head and wrapped him up, can you imagine? And we were
telling them that this is our brother whom we had identified. He has a
mark on his lips and on his fore head, it is just a unique feature of
him and all that.
“Could you believe that another family went
inside and identified the same Jones’ body. A body that has been
identified by them and confirmed by us twice, they took another family
to go and identify the body, the family was already devastated and the
girl came out. Because she wasn’t sure of the body, she asked him to
bring out his hands because their own person has a mark in his hands.
The professor refused.
“The professor came out to tell us that
there was a problem on our body, that there was a contention. He said
because of this he would not release the body. That means they did not
store the bodies properly, that means there is something fishy going
Relation attacks LASUTH officials
development at the same venue, a drama was played out when an angry
relation of the victims of the crash attacked LASUTH officials with a
machete. Luckily, the unprovoked assault was aborted by a special squad
of the Rapid Respond team of the Police who held on to the angry man as
he shouted: “You people can eat my brother’s body if you want, since you
don’t want to release him to us.”
In anticipation, the Police
have stationed a special squad of the Rapid Respond team to man the
mortuary for 24 hours because of such unpleasant development.
Officials of the hospital, including Obafunwa, maintained stoic silence
over the matter and rebuffed overtures by media men to get his response
on the development.
Two more bodies were claimed yesterday, bringing the number of claimed bodies to eight