The Lagos State Government has announced the suspension of its planned mass burial for the 103 corpses recovered in the aftermath of the October 2020 #EndSARS protest.
This decision was confirmed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, in an exclusive statement to The PUNCH on Monday, October 9, 2023. The suspension comes in response to the controversy that arose following the initial announcement made in July.
In a leaked memo dated July 19, 2023, titled “Letter of No Objection – Mass Burial for the 103, the year 2020 EndSars Victims,” the state government disclosed its approval of N61,285,000 for the mass burial of the 103 corpses, which were identified as #EndSARS victims.
The memo, which surfaced on social media, ignited outrage among Nigerians, human rights activists, and civil society organizations.
Both Amnesty International and a group operating under the banner of the Coalition of #EndSARS Protesters and Supporters called on the state government to halt the planned mass burial.
Amnesty International went further, urging the government to conduct transparent coroner inquests and autopsies on the 103 #EndSARS victims.
In response to these demands, the state government, through the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, assured that it would adhere to global best practices during the mass burial.
When asked for an update on the matter on Monday, Commissioner Omotoso stated that 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 further clarified, “Up till now, nobody has shown up to identify any of the corpses. But the government has decided to give people more time.” He concluded by noting that the planned burial would take place at a later date, with the additional time provided for people to ascertain whether their relatives were among the deceased.