A ban on gatherings in an effort to check the spread of coronavirus has left mortuaries in Lagos filled as relatives are unable to hold funerals, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.
Mr Babajide said this at a press briefing on Saturday, saying the mortuaries need to be decongested urgently.
The governor said the state of the morgues are not related to COVID-19 but as a result of the inability of people to gather for funerals.
He attributed the situation to the lockdown directive which caused many families and households to suspend or put off funeral plans.
“Because of this inability to hold funerals, occasioned by the restriction on movement, the mortuaries in Lagos State are now full and in urgent need of decongestion. Let me make it clear at this point that these are not Covid-19 deaths,” he said.
“I am now constrained to make this appeal to all Lagosians who have the corpses of loved ones in the mortuaries, to please go ahead and schedule these funerals.
“The mortuaries in Lagos are not full because of Covid-19 deaths –the total number of Covid-19 deaths in Lagos as at today is 20; the only reason the mortuaries are full at this time is because funerals are not being held, and have not been held for most of the last two months,” Mr Sanwo-Olu added.
The governor said he needed to make it clear that funerals are on the list of activities exempted from the lockdown restrictions.
He said Lagosians can hold or attend funeral ceremonies in the state as long as they comply with the requirements of the state, which are as follows:
• The total number of persons at the funeral, including officiating religious leaders, must not exceed 20.
• Physical distancing must be maintained at the funeral ceremony.
• All attendees/mourners must use masks and ensure they wash their hands after the
• There must be no receptions or parties to accompany the funerals.
Mr Sanwo-Olu emphasised that as long as these directives are fully complied with, funerals will be allowed and encouraged to take place.
“If we are unable to see a decongestion of the mortuaries across the state in the next two weeks, the Lagos State Government will be compelled to carry out mass burials to achieve this. We do not want to be forced to do this, which is why we are asking for your cooperation in this regard,” he said.