The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has instructed police command officials seven days to conduct a thorough inquiry into the 20 mummified bodies found inside a private morgue in Benin, the state capital, to determine the facility’s uses and owners.
Obaseki said Wednesday at a joint news conference with the police at the command’s headquarters in the Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin, in his capacity as his Special Adviser on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie. NewsReport learned.
He called for calm among Edo residents, while assuring that members of the public would continuously be briefed on the progress of the investigation.
Obaseki said: “We do not want to preempt the outcome of police investigation, but the police are actively doing their investigation.
“There are lots of speculations going around. Some people suspect that the place is a quack morgue. Could it be for ritual purpose? We are giving that to the police.
“People have been apprehended and they are undergoing questioning. Some people are still being looked for.
“The governor has given seven days for them to come back to us with the details of what they have found out. Was it just a morgue or is there any ritual involved? No conclusions have been reached yet. So, police will be allowed to do their work.
“We are going to continuously brief the public and we are also taking measures through Edo Ministry of Health to ensure that there is no public health crisis in that area. The state is safe, and there is no evidence yet that anything ritual is involved, until the police are through with their investigation.”
Edo Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Olawore Oluwole, who is handling the investigation, assured that the police would do a thorough job.
Oluwole said: “Based on credible intelligence, a bungalow, located at Asoro area in Benin City, and in the building, we found some dried bodies and some items like generator, gas cylinder and oxygen cylinder.
“While investigation is in progress, five suspects have been arrested, and they are: Chimaobi Okoewu and Samuel Okoh both from Ebonyi State, Gideon Sunday from Akwa-Ibom, Victor Obeche from Anambra and Yusuf Lawal from Katsina State.
“So far, we are still looking for one of the suspects and efforts are being made to get him. His name is Otu Chukwu, who is alleged to be the owner of the bungalow, and soonest he will be apprehended.
“I want to appeal to all members of the public to remain calm as the command is assuring that everything will be done to ensure that all hidden facts are unraveled.”
It will be recalled that the leadership and members of Edo Civil Society Organisations, led by its Interim Chairman, Leftist Austine Enabulele, yesterday declared that the facility was not a ritual shrine but a legal and privately-owned morgue.