Emotions ran high on Saturday as families of those who died in the 21-storey building collapse on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, besieged Lagos Mainland Hospital morgue in the Yaba area of the state to identify corpses of their loved ones.

A mix of emotions steeped in tears, grief and anger as families went into the mortuary premises.

They sat under two canopies mounted on the premises as a female attendant called them one after the other into an office from where they were led to the morgue for identification.

“The most recent picture of the missing person and a photocopy of the identity card of his/her blood relation are required,” the attendant announced. “You will then be called in to identify the body but you have to be strong,” she advised.

Otu’s sister, who declined to give her name, broke down in tears as she came out of the office. Flanked by four relations, she was consoled and led out of the premises.

“I have seen his corpse. They said they would contact us to collect it as soon as the governor gives approval,” she told newsmen briefly, fighting back tears.

Shortly after, another bereaved family member surfaced from the office, looking downcast. He held his head in distraught, nodding dejectedly as he walked out of the premises together with his relations.

After a while, a light-complexioned woman in a white gown stormed out of the office, holding a piece of paper containing a female photograph.

“Let’s go,” she yelled, beckoning at a family member who had also stepped out of the room.

“They said we should bring her photograph. We went to a business centre to do a printout containing her picture and brought it only for them to say it has to be a hard copy,” the family member explained to some policemen who approached him to find out what was wrong. “Are we happy to be coming here?” the man fumed.

They returned to the office about 30 minutes later to identify their relation’s corpse. The woman emerged from the office afterwards sobbing as she was led out of the facility.

Also, a middle-aged man donning a blue native dress headed to an office inside the mortuary visibly angry. He initially shunned entreaties when some attendants tried to direct him to “the appropriate section.”

He was eventually led to where he checked his relation’s corpse. Minutes later, he came out with a frown, snapping his fingers. A family member quickly walked up to him and parted him on the back.

“It’s okay. I will be fine,” the bereaved man murmured as they both left the facility in tears.

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