On Friday 25th January 2022,the Onitsha General Hospital mortuary was engulfed in a mystery fire that roasted hundreds of corpses deposited in the mortuary preparetory for collection and burial by their loved ones.It was a double tragedy for the families that corpses deposited under the care of a public hospital, a government owned facility went up in flames and roasted no fewer than 400 corpses. That is a tragedy !We are disturbed that this kind of ugly scenario has become common in Anambra State.Recall that on 29th Dec 2019,the Enugwu-Ukwu General Hospital mortuary was engulfed in fire while a staggering number of corpses were somewhat cremated. Such acts of negligence and carelessness by the custodians of the morgues are condemnable. There are stories though, unconfirmed making the rounds that such mystery fires were deliberate in order to conceal some unwholesome practices in the mortuaries. There are side-talks that staff of the mortuaries harvest vital human organs and sell same to ritualists, cannibals and other unscrupulous elements. We do not expect all these allegations to be true otherwise, the sanctity and value of human being is lost. Mortuaries where dead bodies are preserved are supposed to be a dignified temporary transit home for the dead before it is conveyed to it’s final place for a befitting burial.It is worrisome also that fire extinguishers, fire fighting equipments and water are not immediately available in our hospitals. What then,is the kind of service a public hospital would render without such equipment and facility. The Onitsha General hospital mortuary where the latest fire occured is nothing to write home about. It is not better than a slaughter house neither is it better than a shanty or a refuse dump. The miserable facility does not even have electricity and corpses are littered outside owing to the congested interior. The fact that the Onitsha mortuary had no fence work gave it away to such fire disaster. We call on the Anambra state government to conduct proper investigation into the constant fire outbreaks at the mortuaries. There’s need to look at the standard of the various mortuaries across the state and standardise their practice and also ensure adequate equipment of the mortuaries. There’s also need to employ qualified personnel to oversee operations of the mortuaries. May the souls of departed who were affected by the fire rest in peace and may there families be comforted.


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