Last week the Anambra State House of Assembly was in the news for the right reasons. It was about a bill for a law to control burial activities in the state. The bill has already scaled second reading on the floor of the House.
The bill which was presented to the House for second reading, wassponsored by Hon. Engr. Charles ChukwumaEzeani, representing Anaocha II Constituency.
The bill seeks to arrest and curb the excesses associated with funeral ceremonies which more and more people have lent their voices to. The first notable action on this was indeed carried out by the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev PaulinusEzeokafor. He forbade his priests and religious in the diocese from embarking on any expenditure at the burial of their people.
Bishop Okafor’s action was hailed by many who called for the extension of the ban to the diocesan laity.
Indeed, the lavishness seen in many of today’s funerals border on the ridiculous. The dead are not respected anymore as pall bearers throw them about in their coffins in what has become a new show. Many gaily dressed hirelings are also around to dance and even cry for the money they are paid. The entire thing has really become sickening.
The food and drinks lavished on such occasions are enough to fund a charity home and take care of the needy.
Apart from that, entire streets are cordoned off by mourners, thus subjecting other tax payers to discomfort. The noise emanating from such places also disturb neighbours, all because some people are mourning.
Without warning guns are fired and people who are sick have been known to pass out after hearing the sudden booming of guns.
Therefore we find it necessary at this point to commend the House for the move to curb the excesses associated with modern funerals. It will save many people the discomfort.
But we hasten to draw the House’s attention to other related matters needing attention. One of them is open air preaching. Stories abound of how some overzealous preachers disturb the peace of neighbourhoods with loud preaching and how some new generation churches mount loud speakers outside their churches and make life miserable for those in the neighbourhood.
Religion is a private thing and not an instrument to be used in disturbing others. While it is good to pray, it is good to do so with moderation.
And going back to funerals, the bill should include the banning of traditional gunshots at funerals as such has wreaked enough havoc to people by its noise and destructive capacity. Some of the things associated with funerals in the old days have been overtaken by time and we feel it is time they were removed.
The move therefore to curb expenses in funerals is a welcome one and should be supported in order to sanitise the system that is going haywire. We whole heartedly support it and thank all those who have been championing it, including Bishop PaulinusEzeokafor.