Nigeria: Police Arrest Morgue Attendants Over Missing Dead Infant

The Police in Ondo State have arrested two mortuary attendants at the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure, over the missing corpse of a baby and its placenta from the hospital's morgue.

The baby and its mother had died at the Police Hospital in Akure last week Wednesday, and their corpses deposited at the morgue of the specialist hospital.

But, when the family of the deceased came for the corpses last Saturday morning, only that of the mother was seen. The baby's corpse and placenta were not found.

An alarm was raised by the family members, and the police were called in.

Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, that the baby and the placenta were still missing "and no trace of them had been found."

He said two mortuary attendants were 'assisting' the police in the ongoing investigations.

Although there were reports early in yesterday that the baby's corpse and the placenta had been found, the police and government officials have dismissed these.

Broken father

Femi Owonidahun, a policeman who is the father of the dead child, narrated his experience.

"After the death of my wife, I took the corpse, baby and placenta to the State Specialist Hospital. They took the record of the deceased at the mortuary.

"When we came to the mortuary to pick the corpses for burial, the mortuary attendant could not produce corpse of the baby and the placenta.

"After washing the corpse of my wife, they put her in the casket, without the baby and the placenta. We now asked the mortuary attendant where the corpse of the baby and the placenta is?

"They asked me in turn if I want to see the corpses of my wife, baby, and placenta. They said I am not afraid of the ghost of the deaths? We insisted that we want to see remains of the baby because we cannot just leave him like that. We want to wrap it with a white cloth and give it a decent burial like its mother.

"When we insisted, we now opened the casket only to find my wife only. It was at this point we raised alarm and staged a protest that they must produce both baby's corpse and placenta.

"The State Commissioner of Health came here, checked the records and confirmed that we brought the woman, her son, and placenta."

Government on the matter - Official

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Health, Wahab Adegbenro, confirmed that the dead newborn baby and the placenta had not been found yet. He disclosed that the matter was being handled by the police.

Mr Adegbenro said two mortuary attendants, who were on duty when the corpses were brought in, had been arrested.

He also said they had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation.

He also spoke on the false reports of the dead baby's 'return'. He said, medically, "it is not possible for a foetus that had been removed to return to the uterus without anybody bringing it back."

"It is not possible for the foetus to come back to the uterus on its own. The police are investigating it; they will tell us the outcome of their investigation. Maybe they will subject the woman (corpse) to autopsy. These are issues that will come up, along the line," he said.

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