Government committed to repatriate remains from Nigeria

JANUARY 9, 2015

Government has reiterated its commitment to repatriate all of the mortal remains of the South Africans that were killed during the building collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria last year.

During the tragic incident, 85 South Africans were killed and 26 were injured.  Seventy-four bodies have since been repatriated and all the injured, while 11 bodies remain unaccounted for due to the inability to match DNA samples.

Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said: “Government acknowledges that the families of the victims need closure to begin the healing process. 

“This can only happen once their loved ones are brought back home for proper burial. Government is committed to repatriate the remains of the 11 bodies. 

“The work of the verification has commenced following the festive break.  Government continues to collaborate with the Nigerian authorities to finalise the outstanding work of identifying the 11 South African bodies.”

Subsequent to the repatriation of the 74 remains, social workers, together with the South African forensic unit, visited the families of the 11 unaccounted bodies. 

Williams said fresh samples were collected from the family representatives and have been submitted to the laboratory for processing. 

“Government continues to provide psycho social support services to the families in distress through the toll-free number 0800 428 428.

“Government appeals to the religious communities to continue praying for these families. All is being done to finalise the work of identifying the 11 outstanding bodies.

“We will communicate with the families as soon as the Nigerian laboratory has finalized the process,” Williams said. -SAnews.gov.za

 

Photo Caption: Photo of the SCOAN building after it collapsed last year. IMAGE: www.rappler.com