The Lagos State Government on Saturday conducted DNA tests to ensure proper identification of victims of the Oct. 3 air crash at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, said the tests were being carried out to ensure that the bodies could be released for burial.
The Associated Airlines plane, which was conveying the remains of Dr. Olusegun Agagu, a former governor of Ondo State to Akure for burial, crashed minutes after takeoff killing 13 persons.
Ahmed commiserated with the families of the victims at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, on behalf of Gov. Babatunde Fashola.
He said that the DNA test was being conducted to ensure that the right corpse was given to the right family, without unnecessary mix up.
According to him, this kind of situation is handled in stages– identification, release, and burial– and requires cooperation and patience from the affected families.
“It is a pathetic situation. We, however, sympathise and share in your grief and pray that the Almighty God grant you the fortitude to bear the loss,” the commissioner said.
“The government is doing everything humanly possible to achieve 100 per cent identification of the bodies,” he said.
Ahmed said that they had got e-mail from the London Laboratory where the examination would be carried out that the results would be ready in three to four weeks.
He also said that the State Office of Public Defender would be made available, free of charge, to families of victims who would want to seek legal advice.
“The government is committed to provide you with information, clarification and updates, as well as a shoulder to cry on,” he said.
Mr. Taiwo Raji, Chief Operation Officer of Associated Airlines, while condoling with families of the victims, said that their greatest challenge was the regulatory framework of addressing the situation.
Raji said that the airline had constituted a committee to visit families and appealed to them to be patient as the airline was doing everything to address the issue.
His words: “Though, the challenges are enormous, we are not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that everything is sorted out smoothly.
“We are fully insured and families can visit our office at 73, Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, for information and clarifications, “he said.
The DNA test was to identify the 13 bodies that were burnt beyond recognition.