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...íNo Autopsy Facilities at National Hospitalí

Posted by From Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja on 2005/07/27 | Views: 771 |

...íNo Autopsy Facilities at National Hospitalí


The much-awaited autopsy and forensic examination ordered by the Justice Olasumbo Goodluck Commission of Inquiry to determine the cause of death and true identities of the Apo Six victims may not be possible, going by the latest information available to the Panel of Inquiry.

The much-awaited autopsy and forensic examination ordered by the Justice Olasumbo Goodluck Commission of Inquiry to determine the cause of death and true identities of the Apo Six victims may not be possible, going by the latest information available to the Panel of Inquiry.

The National Hospital, Abuja said yesterday that it will not be able to conduct the forensic and DNA examinations in Abuja as earlier expected given the decomposed state of the bodies, and the non-availability of facilities at the hospital to preserve the bodies after they may have been exhumed.

The hospital, in a letter sent to the panel, said it would not be able to conduct the autopsy at the burial site, because of its nearness to residential areas and its health implications, but would have to transfer the bodies to an isolated location after their exhumation from the present site.

Authorities of the hospital have, however, offered to make necessary arrangements for the exhumation, but preferred to conduct DNA tests abroad.
Secretary to the commission, Mr. Isaac Idu, who read the letter from the National Hospital, said "it is very likely that the bodies are in a very decomposing state now and upon exhumation body tissues will have to be taken to the United States of America where the tests could be conducted."

Idu, who said such an exercise could take as much as eight weeks to conclude, but advised members of the deceased families to make themselves available to pathologists of the National Hospital for the collection of their samples, which would be used to cross match with those to be extracted from the corpses.
But, the position of the hospital that the tests cannot be conducted locally drew prompt disagreement from Amobi Nzelu, counsel to the families of the five deceased males.
Amobi said though facilities may be lacking at the hospital, the major problem may be the absence of competent personnel to conduct the tests. The lawyer therefore recommended that the authorities of the hospital should contract the services of one forensic pathologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and another anatomic pathologist at University of Ilorin to salvage the situation.
This step, Amobi said, would not only save time but also cut cost.
These developments came on the heels of further revelations, this time from Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the bloody drama which culminated in the death of the Apo Six victims could have been avoided had the Inspector General of Police harkened to the voice of reason raised by the central labour union and the National Assembly in the recent past.
NLC expressed outrage over the gory revelations at the Panel of Inquiry in which a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Danjuma Ibrahim and four other police officers have testified on their roles in the cold blooded execution of six young Nigerians in Abuja, but said the executions could have been avoided only if the police high command had acted on the series of memos sent to it on the conduct of some of its men, especially Danjuma Ibrahim.
The bloody episode the, NLC said, reinforces the demand by the Nigerian citizenry for a thorough reform of the Nigeria Police and its transformation from a killer squad that is a threat to the public safety into an institution that respects the rights of Nigerians under the constitution.
Testifying before the Panel of Inquiry yesterday, the Acting Secretary General of the NLC, Comrade Owei Lakemfa said that based on its encounters with Danjuma and his likes in the past, the labour union had in 2003 protested to the then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun when policemen murdered a total of 16 persons during a nationwide demonstration by Nigerian workers against some unfriendly government policies of that time.
The NLC scribe also chronicled other ugly experiences of Nigerians with the police including one involving the person of the President of the NLC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and said that these were all communicated to the police high command from where the issues were swept under the carpet.
In a memorandum presented to the panel, the NLC described the prime suspect in the Apo Six killings, Danjuma Ibrahim as "a homicidal maniac well known to the police High Command," but regretted that no meaningful action was taken to curb his excesses hence
the serial killings perpetrated by police officers on the six Nigerians presumably on his directives. "As gruesome as they have been, the details of the murders and the blood thirsty zeal and unspeakable callousness exhibited by the officers and men are painfully familiar. This scenario is reproduced almost on a daily basis. What this depicts is that the nation is saddled with a Police Force without respect for the right to life and other inalienable rights and civil liberties, which the Constitution guarantees every
Nigerian, including and particularly criminal suspects. Police brutality manifest in reckless and premeditated use of firearms and torture takes place on a daily basis in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria, supervised by or under the oversight of superior police officers. "It is obvious that the Nigeria Police now has an official policy known to all formations Ė officers and men to execute robbery suspects or any persons labelled as such and to pass off people who die in custody as armed robbery suspects killed in shoot-out with the police. The police celebrate this by openly parading mutilated corpses before the media and through recommendations for gallantry issued by senior officers to the perpetrators", the NLC stated in its memorandum.



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