By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Following the passage of cremation bill by the state House of Assembly, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, Monday, signed cremation bill into law, which provides for voluntary burning of corpses and unclaimed corpses in the state.
The governor, also signed two other bills into law, they are; A law to establish the Ibile Oil and Gas Corporation and that of establishing the Lagos State Christian and Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.
Fashola while signing the cremation bill into law, after several months of public debates in his Alausa office, Ikeja, said the cremation law is voluntary, adding that its enactment shows how the concept of globalization had taken its roots in the state.
The governor, who lauded members of House of Assembly for responding to global yearnings, noted that their enthusiasm in passing the law also showed that cremation is the best way to go.
Explaining the content of the new cremation law, the Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the law only provides for voluntary cremation.
According to him,” it is voluntary in the sense that it allows for voluntary cremation, whereby a person may signify interest to be cremated when he dies or a deceased’s family members who must attain the age of 18 years can decide to have the corpse cremated.”
Ipaye added that; “The law now makes it legal for the state government to cremate unclaimed corpses in its mortuaries after a period of time”.
The Attorney General added that if the owners of the corpse also failed to show up to collect the ashes after 14 day notice it will be disposed by the state government subject to the consent and approval of the Commissioner for Health.
Ipaye explained that Section 2 stipulates that no cremation may take place except in a crematorium established by the Ministry of Health or by any other body upon the recommendation of the authority and approval by the Commissioner for Health.
Section 6 of the law, according to him stipulates the guidelines to getting permission to cremate and lists those who could apply for permission to cremate to include a child or children of the deceased; a close relative of the deceased; an undertaker and an agent/legal representative.
The commissioner said Section 10 of the law states that the cremator in charge of a crematorium must not dispose of the ashes remaining after a cremation except in accordance with any reasonable written instructions of the applicant.
Ipaye affirmed that the cremator in charge may bury the ashes in a burial ground if,“within one year after the cremation, the applicant does not give reasonable written instructions for the disposal of the ashes.”
While signing bills establishing Ibile Oil and Gas Company, a state owned oil company, and Law regulating the Christian and Muslims Pilgrims’ Welfare Board into law, Fashola, explained that though, the state had laws enacted in the 80s to regulate the activities of the two boards, but the state government had decided to harmonize the amendments done on the law overtime to make it uniform and effective.