Of the 81 South Africans who died in the tragic incident, 54 have so far been positively identified. Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, who is a Special Envoy in Nigeria to facilitate the repatriation, on Wednesday night, said he was still hopeful that more bodies would be positively identified so that all the remains can be transported back to Pretoria on Saturday.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, gave the go ahead for all the bodies that have been positively identified to be transported to South Africa. Minister Radebe led a team of senior government officials to a marathon meeting with Fashola at the latter’s official residence in Lagos, where it was agreed that repatriation should go ahead this weekend.
Speaking during the meeting, which was opened to the media, Minister Radebe went to great length to explain why it was important for the remains to be returned to South African without any further delay.
“In terms of our culture, we bury our dead within a week and now we are marking two months since the incident took place. We are very glad we are meeting with you Governor so that we can be able to speed up this process of repatriation,” Minister Radebe said.