Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The 6th Anambra legislature on Wednesday passed Burial cum Funeral Ceremonies Control Bill into law to guard against extraneous activities during burial ceremonies in the state.
Propounder and Chief sponsor of the bill, Hon. Charles Chukwuma Ezeani of Anaocha 2 state constituency, said the bill when in full operation, would curtail the ostentations and unnecessary display of wealth during burial ceremonies in Anambra state.
Ezeani who spoke with House of Assembly correspondents shortly after the passage of the bill, said it would equally address unnecessary pressure mounted on bereaved persons to borrow money in order to carry out burial activities and thereafter incur debts they cannot pay back.
He said the passage of the bill was a milestone achievement for him as a legislator in the 6th assembly and that the bill in question is geared towards cutting down in totality the cost of burial activities in Anambra state, adding that many bereaved persons have not been able to bury their people due to high cost of the ceremonies.
The lawmaker noted that the attention given to the bill showed that the lawmakers really wanted the law to come into force stressing that burial ceremonies should be mourning periods not a time when people should look for finances to bury the dead.
Ezeani further disclosed that the use of caskets costing huge amounts of money would no longer be tolerated in public glare. He said, “From the commencement of this law, no person in Anambra state shall in any way showcase a casket in such a way that people will see it along the road.”
The lawmaker also observed that the state was littered with caskets showcasing the fact that people were more interested in dying rather than staying alive. He said that by the existence of the law, public display of caskets would be grossly controlled.
He said the law on control of burial and funeral activities implied that people should celebrate their loved ones when they are still alive and not spending fortunes buying golden caskets upon their demise.
The lawmaker equally pointed out that the law seeks to protect poor masses from the exploitations of the rich and mighty upon the death of their loved ones, noting that the rich most times subject poor masses to excruciating financial conditions in the guise of helping them perform funeral rites for their bereaved family members.