The Lagos State Government says nine bodies from the Otedola Link Bridge fire incident which occurred on June 28 have been successfully matched to the families.
The Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, who confirmed the development, said that 11 families had shown up at Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, LSD&FC, for testing and only nine families had been matched.
“On July 5 2018, samples from the incident were picked up by LSD&FC staff from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Forensic Pathologist, under secured chain of custody,” said Mr Idris.
“Reference DNA profiles were generated at LSD&FC from representative family members and compared to the DNA profiles generated from the victims’ samples received from the Forensic Pathologist.
“Based on the DNA analysis performed at LSD&FC, all victim samples were successfully matched to relatives’ samples. Nine bodies have been successfully matched to nine families, out of the 11 families that showed up at LSD&FC.
“They are now ready to be handed over to the rightful families for necessary burial arrangements.”
He said collection of the remains would commence from 10.00am July 28 at the Seminar Room of the Pathology & Forensic Medicine Department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
The commissioner said that this was the first time unidentified victims of a mass disaster had been successfully identified locally using DNA technology.
He said that the identification process was completed in less than four weeks after the incident as against over six months when the practice was to take samples abroad for analysis.
“I also wish to note that rigorous effort is made in ensuring that errors are reduced to the barest minimum in order not to compound the agony already being experienced by the bereaved families.
“As a government, we share the concerns and anxiety of the affected families and associates on the identification and the need for prompt release of the remains of their loved ones.
“However we believe that the thorough investigation which was conducted is in the best interest of all concerned. We wish to reiterate that the entire cost of management and treatment of the surviving victims and DNA forensics for the dead and their families was borne by the State Government,” Mr Idris added.
He said that some of the victims of the accident are currently being treated at the Trauma & Burns Centre, Gbagada General Hospital and LASUTH and are responding to treatment.
Ten patients were admitted at the state’s various hospitals, two died, three have been discharged and five are still on admission.