Following the signing into law of a bill to control burial and funeral ceremonial activities in Anambra State which was passed by the State House of Assembly by the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, the state is set to reap billions of naira as revenue, once the law comes into effect and operational.
It is proposed that the law cited as burial/funeral control law 2019, will come into force on the 9th of April 2020. As from the commencement of this law, all burial or funeral ceremonies of indigenous deceased persons in the state shall be registered with the town union of the indigenous deceased person, with the sum of N1,500.
Other conditions that apply include No person must erect any billboard, banner or posters of any kind of deceased persons in the State. 100k fine or 6 months jail term or both for violation.
Persons are allowed to erect only directional posts (such as the ones leading to the venue). Must not be erected before seven days to the burial date and must be removed not later than seven days after the burial date. 100k fine or 6 months jail term or both for violation.
Corpse must not be deposited in the mortuary or any other place beyond two (2) months from the date of death. 100k fine or 6 months jail term or both for violation.
No blocking of road/street because of burial except with the approval of the appropriate local government authority.
No public display of casket for purposes of fabrication and sale 50k fine or one month jail term or both for violation.
Deceased family must clear outstanding levies owed to the community or religious body before the funeral ceremony.
There must be no Wake of any kind for any deceased person in the State. All vigil mass, service of songs or religious activity for the deceased person prior to the burial must end by 9:00pm. There must be no food, drink, life band or cultural entertainers during and after vigil Mass, service of songs or religious activity for the deceased person.
All burial/funeral ceremonies for any deceased person in the State must be for one day.
All burial mass/services must start not later than 9:00 am and must not last more than 2 hours.
No preserved corpse must be exposed for more than 30 minutes from the time of exposition. It could be kept in a room under lock and key.
All condolence visits after any burial/funeral ceremony must not exceed one day.
During a condolence visit, no person must give to the deceased person’s family, as a condolence gift, any item exceeding money, one jar of palm wine, one carton of beer and one crate of soft drink.
No deceased person’s family must give out any souvenir during burial/funeral ceremony.
For Ibuna Ozu Nwa Ada, there must be no demand of more than 10k by the maiden family of the deceased woman.
Undertakers at any burial ceremony must not exceed 6 in number. There must be no dancing with the casket by the undertakers.
Wearing of special uniform/aso ebi is restricted to: (1) immediate family of the deceased person, (2) church groups, and (3) umunna, umu ada and iyom di, where applicable.
Provision of food/drinks is not compulsory. It is at the discretion of the bereaved family.
No burial on any local market day of the town. For Ifitedunu, no burial on Nkwo market day.
Umuada of the deceased person’s family must stay only on the day of the Wake and the burial/funeral.
No more custom of Ndi Youth demonstrating with the picture of the deceased person within the town.
No destruction of cash crops, economic plants, household utensils/ properties by Ndi Youth, condolence visitors, masquerade or any other person.
No use of any type of guns except Nkponana.
No brochure of the deceased person except for Order of Mass/service.
All condolence registers during any burial/funeral ceremony must be kept at a convenient corner on the premises.
There shall be no second funeral rites after burial except in the case of legacy.
Commissioner for Lands is required to create State burial ground in every community. Rejected corpses and unidentified corpses will be buried there. A “rejected corpse” is a corpse deposited in a mortuary for more than two months. Every mortuary attendant is bound to report to the Ministry of Health any corpse that has stayed beyond one (1) month from the date it was deposited. Failure to notify the government is an offence.
There will be Monitoring and Implementation Committees. Members will be paid such remuneration as may be determined by the town union of the town. The Town Monitoring Committee is responsible for (1) registering all deaths in the town, (2) giving clearance for every burial/funeral ceremony in the town, and (3) submitting records of the implementation of the Law to the Department of Town Union and Chieftaincy Matters in the State. The Implementation Committee must be present at any burial ceremony to observe the implementation of the Law. Obstruction of the Committee is an offence and attracts a fine of 50k.
Contravention of the provisions of the Law is an offence punishable by 100k fine or six months jail term. Magistrate Court has jurisdiction to try offences under the law.