Mortuaries  Filled Up As Yoruba Can’t Bury Their Death


Mortuaries  Filled Up As Yoruba Can’t Bury Their Death

Lockdown is changing Yoruba social lives in dramatic ways

By David Olubodun

Many of the mortuaries in South-West states getting filled as families find it difficult to bury their loved ones. Investigation by Irohinodua indicated that hundreds of burials have been postponed  due to lockdown  occasioned by the COVID -19 shutdown.

Our correspondent heard that mortuaries in Lagos and other South West States have been receiving dead bodies without spaces to keep them in the mortuary.

Our correspondent heard that it is difficult to find spaces for fresh bodies coming from cases unrelated to coronavirus.  Ultimately, an old culture has been affected in many ways by the lockdown:

  • Yoruba people who had scheduled burials for March, April or May will see less people attending the ceremonies. Many were compelled to postpone the burials.
  • More people are learning to do their burials in low-key, since the probability of visitors in large numbers is now remote.
  • Those who lose their loved ones now bury them immediately since there are limited or no spaces in the hospitals.
  • Those who kept their dead in the mortuary cannot bury them now, until after the lockdown.
  • Burial ceremonies in the nearest future are likely to be attended by fewer people due to fear of the coronavirus especially when people are not sure of the source of death.

‘’ It has been very tough for us, no space for new dead bodies because relations have refused to pick up their dead bodies for burial due to the lockdown,’’ one source told our correspondent in Lagos.

At Ibadan and Osogbo, a health worker, Mr Mathins Ajayi said many hospitals in Oyo and Osun States are having problems since most people have been compelled to postpone their burials due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

Ajayi was had worked in Adeoyo Hospital, Ibadan and the Osogbo General Hospital before his retirement said reports he got indicated that dead bodies have been left uncollected by owners. He said many families have not picked up the bills they needed to pay for keeping their loved ones in the mortuary.

He said “Yoruba people especially Christians and Traditional worshippers are accustomed to keeping their dead in the mortuary after which the date of the burial would be picked. That has changed in the past few weeks. People cannot bury their dead ones because of the lockdown and people who die naturally are either buried immediately robbing their relations the time honoured culture a ceremonial burial”, Ajayi said.


A Family that lost an elderly man on Sunday in Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos said the 80year old man could not be kept in the mortuary as he requested because authorities at Ikeja Teaching hospital said there was no space. Relations of a young man Baba Gana who died a week ago said the 22year old boy was buried an hour later as Islamic tradition permitted.

A community leader  in Ado-Ekiti told Irohinodua that a woman who died on Sunday was buried immediately to avoid any embarrassment from mortuary attendants even though the children would have loved to keep the dead body in the mortuary but could not do so due to the lockdown.

In Ekiti State, the Head of Anatomy and Pathology Departments at  Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Omonisi Abidemi said the institution teaching hospital has adopted a legacy to sustain proper management of mortuary within the teaching hospital to handle corpses during this covid-19 lockdown.

‘’We thoroughly agreed to screen bodies before admission into the mortuary. Mortuary attendance has no permission this time to admit any corpse without the permission of the Pathologist, presently  the mortuary can conveniently accommodate 60 bodies due to the new arrangement and facilities added.’’




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