Nigerian man arrested with 70 dead babies in bags

A man carrying bags containing the corpses of more than 70 dead babies has been arrested in Nigeria.

The man, who worked for the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, was supposed to be bringing the infants’ corpses to receive a proper burial, but was unable to afford the morgue fees. Officials say the man was attempting to “dump” the bodies when he was apprehended.

A correspondent for the BBC in Nigeria says that abandoning the bodies of infants outside hospitals is not uncommon because families are too destitute to afford burials for the babies, or are embarrassed. Hospitals retain contractors to arrange burials in those instances.

Lagos state police public relations officer Frank Mba said that in a preliminary investigation, additional staff from the Department of Morbid and Anatomy had been arrested as well as the contractor. Mba added that officials do not believe the incident was ritualistic in nature:

“We are sure that the suspect is neither a ritualist nor a murderer nor a trafficker. Other contending issues like corruption and abuse of office will be investigated.”

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The hospital is said to be cooperating fully with the investigation.