how the corpse of a 28-year-old pregnant woman, Justina Joshua, was
left to rot in the mortuary of the General Hospital in Idanre, Ondo
State due to a clash of cultures, there are fresh indications that the
corpse has been mutilated while laying on the floor of the mortuary.
on July 23, 2016, detailed how Justina, who hailed from Ukwok in Ini
Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, died moments after she was
knocked down by a tree while on the farm to pluck corn in the company of
her six-year-old nephew.
husband, Sunday, made it to a clinic but when she was being transferred
to the general hospital for better care, she died at the gate of the
hospital, ostensibly due to the complications she suffered from the
incident, having been trapped under the tree for hours.
she must be buried beside the tree, in line with their custom, while the
relatives of the deceased, also insisted that their own custom demands
that Justina’s corpse should be taken home for proper burial.
Commissioner of Police in Ondo State, Hilda Harrison, intervened in the
matter, which led to the release of the corpse by the community, and the
case was transferred to the State Investigation Bureau in Akure, the
the owner of the farm, Awute Aye, have been arrested by the police and
they would soon be charged to court, but when the corpse was to be moved
from Idanre mortuary to the one in Akure, the state capital, it was
discovered that Justina’s body had been mutilated for reasons yet to be
Council of Nigeria, Kubiat Ikpidungise, who first raised the alarm, told
our correspondent that by the time they got to the mortuary, the “near
decomposed corpse”, had been mutilated, while maggots were already
coming out from some parts of the body.
left leg that looks like a deep cut. She said the explanation provided
was that a rat must have eaten those parts while she was kept on the
mutilated if indeed it was being checked every three days, “as claimed
by some elders in the community. What then was the essence of checking
the corpse every three days if it was already decomposing and some parts
of it removed?” she queried.
explanation on this from the medical director and mortuary attendant at
Idanre because the family cannot accept such corpse. The trip to Ukwok
village is close to 12 hours, and with the state the corpse is, it will
be so embarrassing by the time it arrives. We told them among other
things that the autopsy should be carried out and the corpse should be
embalmed for at least two weeks to put it in proper shape for the long
journey to her village,” she said.
Touch-A-Heart Foundation, a human rights advocacy group in Lagos, Mrs.
Favour Benson, who also took up the matter, also called on the police to
investigate the mutilation and prosecute the tree cutter and farm owner
the deceased, were not successful, as he was said to have been
inconsolable since seeing the state of his later wife’s body.
State Police Command, Femi Joseph, said the command had reports that
the body was mutilated, saying investigation had commenced into the
matter. He assured that justice would be done.
office because they had the corpse in their care. They are helping us
with our investigation. Whoever is found culpable in that respect will
be dealt with accordingly,” he said.