The families of 33 abandoned corpses in the mortuary of Godfrey Okoye University in Enugu State, Southeastern Nigeria, have been given a 21-day ultimatum by the authorities to evacuate their remains.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Christian Anieke, disclosed that failure to comply with the evacuation order would result in the university proceeding with a mass burial for the deceased individuals.
During a news conference in Enugu on Sunday, Anieke noted that the injunction given on November 13 is necessary to allow the university to renovate the mortuary.
He further revealed that some of the corpses have been in the mortuary for over 18 years. The Vice-Chancellor emphasized that the renovations and upgrades are essential to make the mortuary suitable for a teaching hospital.
“We have got a court injunction to carry out mass burial of the 33 abandoned corpses in our teaching hospital morgue.
“Some of the corpses have been in the mortuary for more than 18 years, and it is quite challenging as we want to renovate and make the hospital a befitting one for a teaching hospital.
“I am appealing to those who have corpses in the mortuary to come and remove them.
“We are talking about human beings here and not animals. Go and check if your relations are there,” The PUNCH quoted Anieke as saying.
The Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Prof. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, disclosed that a considerable number of bodies discovered within the facility were not properly identified.
In his statement, Nwadinigwe mentioned that 14 deceased individuals had identical names.
He noted the absence of documentation regarding the dates when certain corpses were brought to the mortuary, while it was apparent that some had been present for over a decade.
Nwadinigwe added: “This is our basis for approaching the court and advertising the warning in newspapers for families to see.”