US, China Demand Citizens’ Bodies For Burial

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The United States, China, France and other foreign countries have asked the Lagos State Government to release the bodies of their citizens who died in Sunday’s ill-fated Dana plane crash in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria for proper burial.

The Consulate General of the affected countries met with Governor Babatunde Fashola on Tuesday and demanded the release of the bodies.

Among the members of the diplomatic community who were present at the meeting were Consul General of France, Mr Francois Sastowrne; Head of Office of High Commission of India, Mr Rani Malic; Consul General of Lebanon, Mr Dina Haddad; Acting Consul General of the United States of America; Mr Karl Cockburn, Consul General China, Liu Xianta. Others are Mr Pontab Tobins of the Indonesian Embassy; Mr Stone Shi of the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCECC and Agos Sutan, a director at ITPC.

Speaking on behalf of the diplomats, the Consul General of China, Liu Xianta said members of the diplomatic corps were very appreciative of the efforts of the State Government on the incident.

He said the missions would want the bodies of their nationals who had been identified after the necessary tests had been carried out among those in the mortuary to be released to them for burial rites in earnest.

Responding, Fashola expressed condolence with them for the unfortunate accident, saying that the meeting was convened to enable him convey condolences on behalf of the government and people of the state and to share with the diplomats the processes by which the foreign missions could identify their nationals who were involved in the mishap.

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He stated that the administration would also like to ask the missions what the government could do to assist them at this difficult period.

The governor advised that they should contact the Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed and Special Adviser on Public Health for any enquiries or possible areas of assistance.

Fashola explained to the diplomats that the process of identifying the victims was a complex and painstaking one with many consequences that were economic and legal, and that there were laws that guide the process of possibly releasing remains of some of the identified victims to their relatives.

Among the State government officials that joined the governor at the meeting were the Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope Adefulire; Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, the Commissioners for Health, Environment and Special Duties, Dr Jide Idris, Mr Tunji Bello and Dr Wale Ahmed respectively as well as the Special Adviser on Public/Private Partnership, Mr Ayo Gbeleyi, among others.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga