Date: December 7, 2023 4:24 am
Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI), Enugu, has given the families of 33 abandoned corpses in its mortuary a 21-day ultimatum to evacuate them.
The university threatened to give a mass burial to the deceased.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Christian Anieke, told a news conference in Enugu on Sunday that the ultimatum given on November 13 became necessary to enable the university to renovate the mortuary.
The Catholic Diocese of Enugu owns GOUNI. It recently converted and upgraded one of its hospitals hosting the mortuary to serve as the varsity’s medical teaching hospital.
Mr Anieke said the renovation and upgrading would make the mortuary a fitting one for a teaching hospital.
“We have gotten a court injunction to carry out mass burials of the 33 abandoned corpses in our teaching hospital mortuary. 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,” he said.
While confirming ignorance of what could be responsible for the long stay of the corpses, he opined that some probably had no relations or were criminals.
“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 relation is there,” Mr Anieke explained.
The vice-chancellor added that in Igbo tradition, families have to give a befitting burial to the deceased.
“It is believed that if the dead are not given a befitting burial, it will have bad consequences for the family,” he said.
The chief medical director of the teaching hospital, Cajetan Nwadinigwe, said many of the corpses did not have name tags, while about 14 of them bore the same name.
He said there were no records of dates on which some of the corpses were deposited at the mortuary, while it was evident that some had been there for more than 10 years.
“This is our basis for approaching the court and advertising the warning in newspapers for families to see,” Mr Nwadinigwe said.