US lab denies conducting toxicology test on Mohbad

The management of the National Medical Services Laboratories in Pennsylvania, United States of America, has refuted the claim by the Lagos State Government that a toxicology test to ascertain the cause of the death of singer Ilerioluwa Aloba, aka Mohbad, was conducted at its facility.

The NMS Labs made the disclosure in response to an inquiry made by Punch. Recall that on May 15, a pathologist, who appeared before the Coroner’s Court said an autopsy could not ascertain Mohbad’s cause of death because his corpse had decomposed. The counsel for the state government, O. Akinde, told the Coroner’s Court sitting in the Ikorodu area of the state sometime in November 2023 that a toxicology test, which is an aspect of an autopsy seeking to determine the cause of Mohbad’s death, was conducted in the United States.

Buttressing this claim, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, while responding to inquiries via a live telephone call with Ahmad Isah, the anchor of an Abuja-based online programme, Brekete Family, sometime in February 2024, said the toxicology test was being conducted at the NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, USA.

“The matter is being handled by the state DNA and Forensic Centre, but they are doing skeletal services, and they have affiliate centres which are three.

“So, if there is an emergency like this one that we have, they will not say they cannot handle it. So, there are three of them in the US and the one handling this particular one is the NMS in Pennsylvania, USA,” Omotoso said during the live programme.

The result of the test reportedly arrived in Nigeria sometime in April 2024 and was passed on to a pathologist for interpretation. Appearing before the coroner’s court, the pathologist disclosed that the autopsy could not ascertain the cause of Mohbad’s death because the corpse had decomposed.

Punch then sent a mail to the said lab to confirm if a toxicology test was indeed conducted at their facilityto determine the cause of Mohbad’s death.

Responding to the mail on May 17, the Client Services Associate, Forensics Division, NMS Labs, Esther Dede, refuted the claim by the state government that Mohbad’s toxicology test was conducted at any of their laboratories.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a case for that patient. To maintain our compliance with HIPAA privacy regulations, we would need authorisation from the submitting agency.”

When contacted on Wednesday, the Commissioner for Information, Omotoso, said that was the name of the lab given to him by the state DNA and Forensic Centre.

“This was what I was told by the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre officials who took the sample there. We are dealing with the officials of the centre, they have three other labs that they have affiliations with. If they have an emergency, they can go to any of the three labs. I asked which particular one did they go to and they answered it was that one. That means I will have to go and check again because that was what I was told.”

Mohbad died at the age of 27, on September 12, 2023, with circumstances surrounding his death sparking controversies on social media. Being a former record label signee of Marlian Music owned by Naira Marley, Mohbad left the label in February 2022. The Lagos State Police Command had on September 18, 2023, inaugurated a 13-man special investigation team to probe the singer’s death.

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