ByÂ Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€”NO fewer than 30 accident victims, deposited at the Catholic Church â€“owned Regina Caeli Hospital in Awka, since 2000 are to be given mass burial in December, if their relations fail to claim the corpses by that date.
The victims, said to be deposited at the hospital by the police from the scenes of accidents at various points along the Enugu â€“ Onitsha expressway,Â are made up of 23 adults and four children, including four women.
Their embalmed bodies, which were showed to newsmen in Awka, at the weekend had dried up, though it is still possible that some of them could be identified by their relations.
Administrator of the hospital, Father Patrick Onuigbo, told newsmen that the cost of keeping each victim for the nine years,Â had amounted to about N200,000, adding however, that although their relations were expected to pay the complete amount before collecting the dead bodies, the cost could be reduced for them.
According to him, the hospital authorities had already discussed the matter with the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Philemon Leha, who, he said, had agreed to stop his men from dumping accident victims without proper identities in the hospital.
â€œWhen I assumed office in this hospital in 2006, I learnt that the police were bringing the accident victims and dumping them in the hospital and when the mortuary attendants objected, the police harassed them by shooting sporadically in the air to intimidate them,” he said.