The Anambra State Government has enacted a new law to ban the public display of caskets for commercial purposes and to regulate funeral activities in the state.
Passed by the state House of Assembly on Thursday, the law aims to curb the excessive and extravagant spending on burials, as well as to ensure the “dignity and respect for the dead.”
“The burial of a person who died at the age of 80 years and above shall not exceed one day, while the burial of a person who died below the age of 50 years shall not exceed four hours,” the law stated.
Mortuary attendants are mandated to report to the Ministry of Health on any corpse that exceeds one month from the date it was deposited. Defaulters will be liable to a fine of N100,000 or six months imprisonment or both.
The new legislation states that funeral ceremonies of indigenous deceased persons in the state be registered with the town union. The town union shall issue a burial permit to the family of the deceased upon payment of a prescribed fee.
Reacting, the state governor, Chukwuma Soludo, commended the State Assembly for passing the law, urging residents to adopt moderation in honouring their departed loved ones.
“Anambra Burial Law is a very progressive law to remove the burden and pressure on the poor as well as liberate women from oppressive practices during burials. We celebrate ‘befitting living’ and only a decent funeral,” he said.
The law, which is expected to take effect from April 1, 2024, has been met with mixed reactions from the public. While some praised the law as a welcome development, others criticised it as an infringement on their freedom and tradition.