The family of retired Assistant Comptroller of Fire Service, Mr. George Moses, a victim of the June 3 Dana air crash, Tuesday, raised the alarm over the whereabouts of his corpse.
Just as the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, condemned the assault on Mr Benedict Uwalaka, a photo-journalist with Leadership newspapers.
Describing the alleged disappearance of the body as “insincerity” on the part of the hospital authorities, a member of the late Moses’ family, Mr. Achief Olajide, who spoke to journalists, alleged that in June, the name of the victim was among the 29 identified names pasted at the Lekan Ogunsola Memorial mortuary of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja.
Brandishing documents and photographs, he said: “After the June 3 crash, we came the following day to the mortuary to identify the body. I entered the morgue, saw Moses’ body and it was intact and he was also identified by his ID card which was in his wallet.
”We were asked to wait at the hall for briefing. Professor John Obafuwa brought out the list of identifiable bodies which was up to 29 names. My uncle’s name was number 22 on the list.
Search for the corpse “The professor asked us to bring the photograph of the deceased. We brought the photograph, but the professor changed his word that the deceased’s body cannot be released again that they were going for DNA testing. After two months, we were called that the result was out.”
According to Olajide, the search for the corpse began on Tuesday August, 7, after announcement of the arrival of the DNA test results from the United Kingdom. He said the name of the late Moses was not on the list pasted at the mortuary.
Asked if he was aware that the LASUTH authorities said there were 16 bodies yet to be identified either because they were excessively charred or the samples submitted by relatives could not match the bodies during the forensic analysis.
Olajide said: “I understood there were 16 bodies burnt beyond forensic analysis or some families could not show up with reference samples. But our case does not fall into any of these categories. So, where is his body? ”They must give me the corpse because the family cannot tolerate any excuse this time out.”
No word from LASUTH Efforts to contact LASUTH officials for comment proved abortive.
Meanwhile NUJ has frowned on the assault meted on the photo-journalist. “We cannot continue to fold our hands while journalists who are carrying out their duties are being battered by some miscreants. We cannot continue to fold our hands, rather at every point in time we will continue to fight for our rights,” said NUJ National President , Mr. Garba Mohammed .
Speaking at the opening of the Nigeria Association of Nigerian Journalist, NAWOJ through his Vice, Mr. Rotimi Obamuwabu, Mohammed avowed: “Any person that wages war against any journalist in Nigeria; that an attack on any journalist is an attack on every journalist in Nigeria. We will continue to resist any attack by anybody, and journalist in Nigeria should continue to fight for ourselves no matter how highly placed is the individual.