Synagogue Collapse: Bodies of six victims still unidentified

A Consultant Pathologist, John Obafunwa, on Friday said forensic examiners have yet to identify the bodies of six victims of the Synagogue Church of All Nations building collapse.

Mr. Obafunwa, a professor and Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, disclosed this while presenting the final report to the coroner’s inquest set up to unravel the cause of the incident.

The inquest was set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the Sept. 12, 2014 building collapse which killed 116 people, mainly South Africans.

The report entitled: “Report on the Collapsed Building in Synagogue Church of All Nations,’’ was admitted by the court as Exhibit 034.

Led in evidence by Akingbolahan Adeniran, counsel to the Lagos State Government, the witness said autopsies were performed on the 116 bodies recovered from the collapse site.

He said the post mortem examinations were concluded on Sept. 30, 2014 and the samples for DNA examination were sent to Unistel Laboratory in South Africa.

Mr. Obafunwa said: “the first set of DNA and fingerprinting results were sent to me on Nov. 3, 2014. Thereafter, an identification committee was set up.

“At this time, 74 South Africans (as well as few from Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc) were identified and subsequently released to the South African Authority on Nov. 15, 2014.

“Again, the identification committee sat on Feb. 4, 2015 following the receipt of other results from South Africa.

“During this time, another 11 South Africans were identified and again released to their authority on Feb. 5, 2015, thus concluding the release of a total of 85 victims of South African origin.

“The respective death certificates as well as embalmment certificates were also handed over to the South African authority.’’

According to him, in addition to these figures, 25 others (comprising 22 Nigerians, two Beninois and one Togolese) were identified and released, bringing the total number of deceased individuals to 110.

He said: “there are six bodies left in the morgues (three each in Isolo and Yaba mortuaries) that are yet to be identified.

“In summary, the victims of the building collapse comprise 60 males, and 56 females; among the male victims was a child allegedly aged six years.

“The distribution of the causes of death is as follows: 56 Multiple injuries, 19 Traumatic asphyxia, 19 Exsanguination, 12 Severe craniocerebral injury, nine Haemothorax following multiple rib fractures and one Congestive cardiac failure following hypertensive heart disease.

“The varying injuries seen on the victims are consistent with blunt force trauma that will normally be sustained from a collapsed building.’’

Testifying earlier at the proceedings, Oladele Ogundeji, the engineer who supervised the project, insisted that the collapse of the building was inconsistent with structural defect.

He said all the materials used for the construction were of the best quality, insisting that the foundation bases and columns were adequate to support the building.

Further hearing on the matter was fixed for March 25.



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