Ruth Matete seeks to have Nigerian Embassy pay husband’s morgue fees

Ruth Matete and the late John Apewajoye. Photo: Courtesy.

Gospel musician and former Tusker Project Fame winner Ruth Matete through her lawyer, Robert Odanga, is seeking the court to compel the Nigerian Embassy to cater for her husband’s morgue fees for the days the body has been held.

According to the lawyer, the bill for John Apewajoye’s body continues to pile as the embassy hold onto the body, adding to the mourning widow’s frustrations.

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“It is common knowledge that the body cannot be subjected to a second postmortem because the initial exercise has already compromised the body. The toxicological test results are also out, so holding the body does not make sense, it only adds to her frustrations as a widow who is still mourning,” said Odanga.

This follows her request for the court’s permission to have the body of her husband released for burial. However, the Nigerian High Commission requested to have it detained until the Nigerian government approves its release.

“The High Commission wishes to state that, after the postmortem, the burial should be put on hold until it is in receipt of such directive from the Nigerian government while the mission awaits the conclusion of the investigations,” read the request signed by the embassy’s head of Chancery, Mr Mahmoud Lawal, on behalf of the High Commissioner.

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Ruth Matete and the late John Apewajoye. Photo: Courtesy.

The body has been lying in the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) mortuary for over three weeks and Matete says the bill is ballooning yet she is struggling to clear the medical charges.

Earlier, Matete accused the Nigerian High Commission in Nairobi of allegedly delaying the burial despite the late pastor’s family in Nigeria permission to bury him in Kenya. According to Matete, her family had been forced to seek financial aid from well-wishers to meet Apewajoye’s rising mortuary fees.

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Speaking on Spice FM, Matete’s lawyer lamented that even after conducting an autopsy with four independent pathologists present, the embassy has curtailed their effort to remove John’s body for burial.

“The family in Nigeria have even written to them (the Nigerian embassy), requesting the body to be released, but they have refused to release it,” he added.

An autopsy showed Apewajoye succumbed to multiple organ failure caused by burn injuries sustained in a fire incident at their home.  Apewajoye, 42, died on April 11 at Kenyatta National Hospital, where he was being treated for burns suffered while allegedly trying to fix a gas cylinder at their home in Great Wall estate in Athi River on March 30.