The Lagos State Government has suspended its planned mass burial of the 103 corpses recovered in the wake of the October 2020 #EndSARS protest.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, who confirmed the development, exclusively told the PUNCH on Monday, October 9, 2023, that the planned mass burial had been suspended, following the controversy generated by the announcement in July.
Recall that in a leaked memo, the state government revealed its approval of N61, 285,000, for the mass burial for the 103 corpses identified as ENDSARS victims.
The memo dated July 19, 2023, and titled, Letter of No Objection. Mass Burial for the 103, the year 2020 EndSars Victims, surfaced on social media, sparking outrage among Nigerians, human rights campaigners and civil society organizations.
Human rights organisation, Amnesty International, and a group under the aegis of the Coalition of #EndSARS Protesters and Supporters had demanded that the state government should suspend the planned mass burial.
Amnesty International further asked the government to also carry out transparent coroner inquest and autopsies on the 103 #EndSARS victims.
In its reaction, the state government through the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr Gboyega Akosile, exclusively told the PUNCH that the government would “conform to global best practices” in carrying out the mass burial.
When asked for an update on the matter on Monday, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy said the planned mass burial “remains suspended to give people ample time to identify their relatives that may be among the corpses.”
“It is to allow more time for identification as suggested when it was disclosed that the government was planning a mass burial for them,” Omotoso said.
He stated further that “up till now, nobody has shown up to identify any of the corpses. But the government has decided to give people more time.”
He added that the planned burial would “be carried out soon, but because of the controversies around that time, it was suspended. People now have the time and ample opportunity to see if their relatives are there.”