A university hospital is planning a mass burial of 33 corpses that spent 18 years in its mortuary
Godfrey Okoye University
Posted by: Kazeem Ugbodaga
Author: Alex Enebeli
The Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI), Enugu, has given families of 33 corpses abandoned at the hospital mortuary 21 days to evacuate them, failing which the bodies will be subjected to mass burial.
Some of the bodies had been lying in the mortuary for over 18 years.
Vice-Rector of the university prof. Christian Anieke told a press conference in Enugu on Sunday that the November 13 ultimatum had become necessary to enable the university to renovate the mortuary.
GOUNI is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. It recently converted and modernized one of its hospitals, which houses a mortuary, to serve as a university teaching hospital.
Anieke said renovation and modernization would make the morgue suitable for use as a teaching hospital.
“We have received a court order to carry out a mass burial of 33 abandoned bodies in the mortuary of our teaching hospital.
“Some of the bodies have been in the mortuary for over 18 years, which is quite a challenge because we want to renovate the hospital and make it suitable as a teaching hospital,” he said.
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Confirming the ignorance of the reasons for the long storage of corpses, he expressed the opinion that some probably had no relatives or were criminals.
“I appeal to those who have bodies in the mortuary to come and remove them.
“We are talking about people here, not animals. Go and check if your relationship exists,” he admonished.
Anieke added that as per Igbo tradition, families must provide the deceased with a decent burial.
“It is believed that if the deceased is not given a proper burial, it will have bad consequences for the family,” he said.
In his remarks, the chief medical director of the teaching hospital, prof. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, said many of the bodies did not have name tags and about 14 of them had the same surname.
He stated that there are no records of the dates when parts of the bodies were deposited in the mortuary, although it is obvious that some of them have been there for over 10 years.
“On this basis, we can go to court and publish the warning in the newspapers for the families to see,” Nwadinigwe said.