After the long delay in delivering the body of the victims who died in the collapsed building at Synagogue church to the families, the bodies finally arrived S/A and caused more trouble rather than solving them. When the bodies were delivered, the families of the deceased were asked not to open the body bags because the corpse could be in a deteriorating state. But the family of 47-year-old Phumzile Mkhulisi who wanted to make sure that they were paying their last respects to the right corpse went ahead and opened the body bag.
Despite the fact that the delay in delivering the body was attributed to complex DNA tests to help identify each corpse and ensure they go to the right families, Phumzile Mkhulisi’s family members are insisting that they were given the wrong corpse. Her brother Lwandle Mkhulisi said the body inside the bag they were given did not have a gap in the teeth like his sister did and had no skin from which they could identify birth marks or scars.
After the discovery, he sounded an alarm to other families, “I told the other families not to go ahead with their burials because none of us were sure we had the right bodies.” He went on to say “They [the government] told us that the bodies may be infected with Ebola because Nigeria is close to Sierra Leone, but Sierra Leone is very far from Nigeria…. They are lying to us.”
However, Dr Munro Marx who oversaw the DNA verification process on behalf of the Nigerian authorities assured the families that he is 100% sure of the accuracy of the test and that the DNA samples from Phumzile Mkhulisi’s two children matched the sample that was numbered to her corpse. Unconvinced still, the family has organized their own private DNA test to be carried out in two weeks time to assure themselves that they will bury the right corpse.
Meanwhile, this is the last batch of bodies to be returned out of the 81 South Africans that died in the collapse.