Otedola Bridge fire: Lagos releases DNA result

Otedola Bridge fire: Lagos releases DNA result

• Health Commissioner says all victims’ samples were successfully matched with relatives’

L-R: Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga; Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan at the news briefing.

The Lagos State government yesterday released the result of the DNA Forensic investigation on the victims of June 28 tanker accident at the Lagos-Ibadan Express Way by Otedola Link Bridge, saying all the samples collected successfully matched those of the victims’ relatives.

The state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris revealed the result to the media while also commiserating with the families of the victims who lost their lives and properties in the fatal explosion.

He said: “I wish to state that the State Government has gone to great length and would continue to do the needful in addressing and managing the issues surrounding the sad occurrence.

“As required for proper identification of the bodies, the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Center (LSD&FC) has completed the matching of bodies recovered from the Fire Incident. The identities of the victims who were completely burnt beyond recognition could not be verified using the traditional identification methods. This necessitated the use of DNA Forensic investigation as an alternative method for identification of all the human remains recovered by the Lagos State Emergency Services.

“All recovered victim remains were taken to LASUTH. It could be recalled that members of the public who knew, or suspected that their relative(s) were victims were advised by the Lagos State Ministry of Health to report to LSD&FC for reference DNA sample collection.

“On July 5th 2018, samples from the incident were picked up by LSD&FC staff from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Forensic Pathologist, under secured chain of custody. 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 (9) bodies have been successfully matched to 9 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.

“Collection of the these remains will commence from 10.00am tomorrow, July 28, 2018 at the Seminar Room of the Pathology & Forensic Medicine Department of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.

“This is the first time that unidentifiable victims of a mass disaster have been successfully identified locally (in Nigeria) using DNA technology. The Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Center completed this identification process 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 was 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.”

The Commissioner further disclosed 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, adding that the medical care of those injured is still ongoing in government hospitals also at the expense of the Lagos State government.

“The victims of the accident who are being treated at our facilities namely; the Trauma & Burns Centre, Gbagada General Hospital and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) are responding to treatment.

“In total, 10 patients were admitted at our various hospitals, two died, three have been discharged and five are still on admission,” he said.

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