By Vincent Ujumadu
THE era of expensive burial appears to be over in Anambra State as Governor Willie Obiano has assented to the new burial law, which came into effect in the state on May 14 this year.
Highlights of new law, which provide that all the communities in the state must have burial grounds, showed that all burial/funeral ceremonies of indigenous deceased persons must be registered with the town union at a fee of N1,500, while erection of any billboard, banner or posters of any kind of deceased persons would attract N100,000 fine or six months jail term or both.
The only exception to the provision was directional posts leading to the venue, which must not be erected before seven days to the burial date and must be removed not later than seven days after the burial date, otherwise the offender would be liable to pay the fine.
The Commissioner for Lands was required by the law to create the state burial ground in every community where rejected corpses and unidentified corpses would be buried.
There would also be monitoring and implementation committees and members of the committees would be paid remuneration to be determined by the town union.
According to the law, the monitoring committee would be responsible for registering all deaths in the town, giving clearance for every burial/funeral ceremony and submitting records of the implementation of the law to the Department of Town Union and Chieftaincy Matters in the state.
Other provisions were that: ”The corpse must not be deposited in the mortuary or any other place beyond two months from the date of death;
”No blocking of road/street because of burial except with the approval of the appropriate local government authority; and
”No wake keep of any kind for any deceased person, while religious activity for the deceased person prior to the burial must end by 9:00pm; and there must be no food, drink, life band or cultural entertainers during and after religious activity for the deceased person.
Similarly, all burial ceremonies must be for one day and the burial services must start not later than 9:00 am and must not last more than two hours, just as no preserved corpse must be exposed for more than 30 minutes from the time of exposition.
It further provides that all condolence visits after any burial ceremony, must not exceed one day and no person must give the deceased person’s family a condolence gift exceeding money for one jar of palm wine, one carton of beer and one crate of soft drink.
In the case of women, there must be no demand of more than N10000 by her maiden family, while wearing of special uniform is restricted to the immediate family of the deceased person and church groups.
The law stipulates that Magistrate courts in the state have the jurisdiction to try offenders.