9 victims of Otedola Bridge fire have been successfully matched to their families, following a DNA test conducted by the Lagos State Government.
According to Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, 11 families had shown up at Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, LSD&FC, for testing and only nine families had been matched.
The health commissioner who further noted that this was the first time unidentified victims of a mass disaster have been successfully identified locally using DNA technology, told newsmen that 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.
Jide Idris also said that 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.
“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.
“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.
It was also gathered that some of the Otedola bridge fire incident victims, are currently being treated at the Trauma & Burns Centre, Gbagada General Hospital and LASUTH and are responding to treatment.