The suspected shrine with about 20 mummified bodies which was discovered by the Edo State Police command weeks ago, has been confirmed to be an uncertified mortuary.
“15 mummified male corpses, 3 mummified female corpses and 2 mummified children corpses were discovered at the scene,” the Police had said and assured the public that it will carry out a discreet investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the discovered corpses.
In an update on Monday, the State Police explained that the operator of the mortuary did not get a licence from the appropriate authorities.
Olawore Oluwole, officer in charge of the Edo police command criminal investigation department, said the command had carried out its investigation and engaged with lawyers, members of the public, medical personnel, families of those who deposited corpses and pathologist.
Oluwole said the command discovered that the principal suspect in the case identified as Gabriel Otu did not acquire any formal training to manage a mortuary, but had worked as an attendant in different mortuaries.
“The principal suspect didn’t acquire formal training but only worked at different mortuaries as a mortuary attendant. That the principal suspect – Gabriel Otu – had no certificate to practice as a mortician or any certification from the traditional board, ministry of health, ministry of environment, or any other appropriate certification,” the officer said.
“The building utilised by Gabriel Otu was not certified nor approved by the ministry of health or environment. Other facts revealed include that the mortuary is not a layout for trado-medical institution.
“As part of our findings, 23 mummified corpses as well as a dismembered mummified body without a skull, were found, which depict or suggest as an unlawful possession, which vitiates section 329 of the criminal code
“Similarly, there were sacrilegious effigies that were found at the scene; some were inside while others were outside. These structures depict criminal charms in his possession and this again vitiates section 213 of the criminal code.
“Also, on visit to scene, some specimens were extracted, which have been sent to forensic laboratory for further analysis.”
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Health, Obehi Akoria has said mortuary operators in the state operating without licences should register with the state government for approval before September 9.
Obehi on Monday, said: “The Edo state ministry of health is using this opportunity to reach out to all persons who own or operate mortuaries or embalmment homes to come to the ministry of health, directorate of regulation and monitoring, with evidence of due registration if they are duly registered latest by September 30.
“However, for those who are not duly registered, we are giving till the close of business on September 9, for them to present themselves to the ministry of health, where we will give them the basic requirements for operation of mortuaries or embalmment homes in the state.”