Residents of Agege area of Lagos State have started exhuming their relatives buried inside some of the buildings being demolished to give way for the construction of a railway station in the area.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the company handling the project paid the owners of the demolished buildings.
Some of the corpses were said to have been buried inside the affected houses over 30 years ago but their relatives had to dig out the remains and rebury them elsewhere.
Some landlords, who exhumed the remains of their relatives from the buildings, told SUNDAY PUNCH in separate interviews that the company calculated the number of tombs in each of the buildings pulled down and paid for their exhumations and reburial,
One of the residents, Yusuf Bakare said, “We exhumed the remains of our three relatives from where they were buried inside the house.
“The company told us that they had included the money needed to dig out the dead from their graves and rebury them elsewhere. We took them to the cemetery at Jafojo where we reburied them.
“Officials of the company counted the tombs in each of the houses they demolished and paid us the money to dig them up and rebury them. I took the remains of my father to Jafojo. I went with some Islamic clerics and I also know some of the verses required to be recited before burying the dead. We did that and that was it.”
Another resident, identified only as Taju, said two corpses of his relatives buried in 1999 and 2005, were exhumed from the house he lives.
He also corroborated Bakare’s claims that the money to exhume and rebury the bodies were added to the compensations paid to the owners of the affected buildings.
Taju said he took the remains of his mother for reburial at his elder brother’s house. One of the labourers, Abdulahi Yahaya, who said he and his colleagues dug three corpses up, stated that they organised prayer sessions before digging the graves.
He said, “We dug the remains up at night. What we dug up were bones, shrouds and foams lining coffins. Some of the relatives of the dead brought new shrouds and the remains of their loved ones were tied in the shrouds before we put them in new coffins. They carried the new coffins and the contents to cemeteries while some took theirs to where they intend to rebury them.’’