The high cost of burial ceremonies has been the bane of our society for some years now. Attempts by some communities in the past to curb it had only recorded partial success. But a light appears to have been seen at the end of the tunnel with the recent passing of a Bill by the Anambra State House of Assembly seeking to outlaw expensive funerals in the state.
Most times, grieving families are thrown into confusion when burial dates are fixed because of their fear of being unable to meet up with the expectations of both the immediate family members and the larger society. This is very disturbing, considering that in cases where the deceased died from a protracted illness, such family members drain their purses in order to save life. This leaves them being unable to afford the many luxuries attached to the seeming pomp and ceremony now associated with funeral ceremonies.
It is therefore traumatizing for most families, especially as they end up borrowing funds to organize the funerals of their family members, all in the name of making them befitting. Some families sell their lands or other property to bury their own. This is very inappropriate because more concern should be given to the people they left behind who could become a nuisance to society if not properly brought up.
It is heartwarming to note that the recent bill, apart from cutting down the cost of funeral activities, also made provision for corpses not exceeding two months in the mortuary, counting from the date of demise. Among other things, the burial shall not exceed one day; blocking of roads and streets during burial ceremonies will no longer be allowed; gun shots, destroying properties in the name of showing grief and praise singing will also no longer be allowed. Very importantly, whatever food prepared for their relatives or kindred of the deceased will be done according to how much they can afford and not according to what these family members demand. In the event of the law taking effect, the mourning period for family members shall not exceed one week from the date of burial, while burial activities shall be concluded in one day.
The passage of this bill is very commendable, especially as it makes provision for a monitoring and implementation committee to see to its effective implementation.
The lawmaker that sponsored this bill, Hon. Charles Ezeani, of Anaocha 11 State Constituency indeed deserves a pat on the back for speaking the minds of a generality of the people of this state. It has been a cause championed by the Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, for some time now. Today those efforts are on the verge of being rewarded once the state governor assents to the bill. We can only wish that both implementation and punishment for defaulters will be effective as soon as the law takes effect.
We therefore urge Gov Willie Obiano not to hesitate in giving his assent to the bill which, in all intents and purposes, will be in the best interest of the people of the state.