The lockdown meant to comprise the unfold of the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the useless in some Southwest states the place bereaved households are lamenting enormous payments as personal and public morgues come beneath intense stress, KUNLE AKINRINADE and TOBA ADEDEJI report.
Yemisi Adelodun is in a dilemma. A number of weeks in the past, she had shunned entreaties from relations to permit the burial of her grandmother who handed on someday in March. At a gathering held of their household home in Ifo, Ogun State, she virtually turned down the household request for the burial of her grandmother, who earlier than her dying, had instructed that her physique should not be deposited in a morgue.
However as quickly because the aged girl handed on, Yemisi, whose father was the one youngster of the lady earlier than he too died in unusual circumstances 15 years in the past, determined to take the lady’s physique to a morgue pending the time the household would agree on a date for a lavish get together to have a good time her demise. The physique was then deposited on the morgue of the State Normal Hospital in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
Her dilemma, nevertheless, began just a few weeks in the past when the state authorities introduced restrictions on actions, processions and social gatherings to curb the unfold of the lethal coronavirus illness as directed by the Federal Authorities. Since then, she has been battling to boost the cash wanted to maintain her mom’s physique within the public morgue.
She mentioned: “My grandmother died on March 7, 2020 on the age of 92. Till her dying, she was dwelling with me.
“Being the primary youngster of my father, who was the lady’s solely youngster, I felt that she deserved a befitting burial, which was the explanation I deposited her physique on the mortuary of State Normal Hospital in Abeokuta, towards the want of her relations who insisted that the lady detested the concept of her physique being deposited in a mortuary.
‘’Aside from the preliminary deposit and the hundreds of naira subsequently paid to the mortuary authorities, I nonetheless want about N10,000 to defray the price of conserving my grandmother’s physique within the mortuary.
“I’m a trainer in a personal college within the Yewa space of the state, and with the continuing lockdown, I’ve no cash to proceed to retain her physique within the mortuary.
‘’I’ve pleaded in useless with different relations, who felt that I ought to deal with the scenario myself since I shunned their preliminary entreaties to bury the lady a day after her dying consistent with her want.
“Now, what I would like is the cash to retain her physique within the mortuary. And the actual downside is that nobody is aware of when the lockdown would finish in order that we will inter her physique.’’
However Yemisi isn’t alone within the monetary stress she has needed to face in conserving the physique of her beloved grandmother within the mortuary. Pius Adeyemi, a resident of Alimosho, Lagos State, whose father additionally died on March 15, this yr, mentioned his household is regretting the choice to deposit his father’s physique in a morgue.
He mentioned: ‘’All of us (youngsters) don’t stay in the identical place and we had deliberate to take part within the burial of our aged father as a result of he laboured arduous to see us by our research and didn’t remarry even though our mom died when she was solely 38 years outdated.
“That call has develop into our albatross due to the large sum we at the moment are paying to maintain his physique in a personal morgue within the Ojodu space of Lagos State.
‘’We by no means knew there can be a lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic in Lagos and Ogun states.
“Our determination to maintain our father’s physique within the morgue was based mostly on the necessity to have extra time to plan for his ultimate burial outing since we don’t all stay in the identical a part of the nation.
“The issue now’s the invoice we’re getting for conserving his physique within the morgue. To this point, now we have spent near N150,000 and there are nonetheless further prices totalling about N70,000.
“If we knew that issues would prove this manner, we’d have buried him instantly and reschedule the ultimate burial until the top of the pandemic.’’
The case of Adebiyi Williams isn’t completely different. When the Lagos-based public relations practitioner misplaced his mom, Madam Omotola Williams, on March 2, the physique of the lady was deposited in a public morgue in Ijaiye a part of Abeokuta, Ogun State, whereas the obsequies launched by his household indicated that the deceased girl can be buried on April 17 of their hometown in Imala space of Abeokuta.
Nonetheless, the occasion couldn’t maintain penultimate Friday due to the lockdown. The price of conserving the physique within the morgue is now the ache that Williams and his siblings are grappling with.
Williams mentioned: ‘’When our mom died within the early hours of March 2, this yr, the household determined it was greatest to offer some weeks to make room for sufficient preparations for her burial. That was the explanation we shifted her burial to April 17 with out an inkling that the pandemic would alter our plans.
‘’Now, now we have been requested to pay further N7,000 and we feared that the quantity might improve if the lockdown persists. As we converse, my siblings and I are working out of cash as a result of nobody has labored for the reason that lockdown began.’’
Morgues crammed to hilt
The consequence of our bodies not claimed on time by the kin of deceased individuals is that fairly a lot of private and non-private morgues in Lagos and different elements of the Southwest states at the moment are crammed up.
Checks carried out by The Nation on the Osun State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, revealed that the morgue was crammed to capability as our bodies littered the ground. The inside of the morgue was additionally crammed up as physique house owners weren’t capable of retrieve them for burial because of the lockdown.
A person, who recognized himself merely as Oluwole, instructed considered one of our correspondents that he hoped that the lockdown can be lifted subsequent week in order that the physique of his mom saved within the mortuary can be buried.
Oluwole mentioned: “My mom died in Osogbo on April 1, 2020, throughout the first lockdown directive. Our hope was to bury her as soon as the 14-day lockdown lapsed.
“Sadly, the federal authorities prolonged the lockdown for an additional two weeks and that has pressured us to not bury her.
“I pray that the lockdown would finish quickly in order that we will commit her to mom earth.”
Additionally, a secondary college trainer in Okini, Osun State, Mrs. Aderonke Aina, who not too long ago misplaced her father, lamented over the fee she must make to the morgue after the lockdown, saying: “I’m the primary youngster of my dad and mom and have been chargeable for the welfare of my father earlier than his dying.
“Even the morgue that we saved him in now, I will probably be chargeable for the fee. We’re charged N200 per day on the morgue and our invoice is working to N5,000.
“My dad died on March 30, 2020, however due to the restriction order of the state authorities, we’re pressured to not bury him that day however to embalm him. ‘’
A morgue attendant, who craved anonymity, mentioned the corpse that was seen on the bottom was not due to the lockdown order however our bodies are first saved there to be handled earlier than they’re moved contained in the morgue.
Sources at a personal morgue within the Pen Cinema space of Agege, a Lagos suburb, mentioned that many our bodies deposited by relations have been but to be collected due to the continuing lockdown.
A supply on the facility, who spoke in confidence, instructed The Nation that the backlash had been that no fee had been made these days by those that introduced the our bodies, lots of whom cited paucity of funds.
The supply mentioned the morgue was crowded with our bodies, noting that the scenario on the morgue was worrisome.
‘’Most of the our bodies have been introduced by relations who wished elaborate funeral for his or her deceased dad and mom. Sadly, nobody envisaged that there can be lockdown over the dreaded coronavirus.
“A lot of them who had initially picked a date this month to throw lavish funeral outing have needed to cancel their plans.
‘’As we converse, many our bodies on this facility haven’t been claimed and those that introduced them are owing us hundreds of naira as a result of they declare they haven’t any cash to pay for the our bodies saved right here.
“A lot of them have promised to defray their payments when the lockdown is over.The issue is that there’s little or no area to accommodate extra our bodies as a result of those within the morgue have nonetheless not been claimed.
What’s extra worrisome is that we’re shedding cash on account of non-payment by relations who saved the our bodies of their deceased family members right here.
“We are able to solely pray that the pandemic is contained as quickly as attainable so the our bodies may be claimed and cash paid to our agency for conserving them in our facility.’’