…DNA samples of victims sent abroad, results expected this week –Commissioner
The family of a National Youth Service Corps member, Oyindamola Zainab Sanni, who died in the 21-storey building collapse in Ikoyi on November 1, 2021, has accused the Lagos State of withholding the remains of the deceased.
Mother of the victim, Mrs Kafilat Anjorin speaking with PUNCH Online, said that since DNA samples were collected from Oyinola’s brother, a week after the incident, family members had been going to the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Yaba, where the bodies of victims of the building collapse were kept, without any results.
She said, “Zainab’s body was recovered on November 3, 2021, and moved to IDH. Her brother was asked to provide samples for DNA test, so they won’t give us someone else’s body and it was done. We have been going to IDH but they have refused to give us the body.
“Today, my husband’s sibling went there and she was told by the people in IDH that they were no longer in charge.”
Oyindamola’s aunt, Mrs Sanni, who went to IDH, Yaba also spoke to our correspondent. She chronicled how she has been going to IDH almost every week since her niece’s body was deposited there and had nothing to show for her efforts.
She said, “I went to IDH today and this is not the first time I’m going. November 6 was the first day that the governor promised to release the body to us but it didn’t happen.
“It was on a Monday that the Head of Department at IDH told us that samples were needed for DNA test. Her brother provided the sample. They did not tell us when to come back again. I went on a Friday and met a lady who claimed to be from the Ministry of Health. She told me that they were gathering the DNA samples, which will be sent to America.
“The two weeks I was given elapsed on Friday and I went there today, only to be told by the people at IDH that they were no longer in charge. The process is taking forever.”
Lagos govt response
When contacted, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotosho said, “There is a process. First, we start from the Coroner’s Law, which says if there is a death in unusual circumstances that the has to do a post mortem, a coroner’s inquest into the deaths. What the did was to collect samples of DNA from relatives of the victims, so they can match such samples with the bodies of the victims, before releasing them to them.
“You know we used to have a DNA laboratory, a forensic laboratory which was destroyed during the EndSARS violence. The samples collected from relatives of the collapsed building victims had to be sent abroad and I think by this week, we are expecting the results to start coming out.
“As soon as the results come out and they can match the samples with the bodies, the bodies will be released to their relatives.”
On Monday, November 1, 2021, a 21-storey building collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos State. Over 40 bodies were recovered from the rubble of the collapsed building. There were also survivors.