Six things you need to know about Anambra Burial Law

Six things you need to know about Anambra Burial Law

The Anambra State governor, Chukwuma Soludo, has called for total compliance with the “Anambra Burial Law,” stating that the law is a very progressive law.

He said the law will remove the burden and pressure on the poor as well as liberate women from oppressive practices during burials.

Soludo, in a short tweet on Wednesday, stated that his government celebrates “befitting living” and only a decent funeral.

In 2019, the House of Assembly of Anambra State enacted the Anambra State Burial/Funeral Ceremonial Control Law to curb extravagant burial practices and promote public order.The law imposed stringent rules on the following:

Cost of death registration of burial ceremonies

Under this law, all burial/funeral ceremonies for indigenous deceased individuals in the state must be registered with the town union of the deceased person, accompanied by a registration fee of N1,500 for each ceremony, as recorded in the “State JJ book u IIIe.”

In terms of signage structures, the law prohibits the erection of billboards, banners, or posters featuring deceased persons within the state,” adding that persons are allowed to erect only directional posts without prejudice.

The law stated that “no directional post” shall be erected seven days before the burial date. The post must be removed not later than seven days after the burial date and the Ministry of Information, through its appropriate agency, shall demolish all signage structures of any deceased persons in the state.

“Any person who contravenes the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira) or imprisonment to a term of six months or both,” the law stated.

Duration of keeping corpse in mortuary

Concerning the preservation of the corpse, the law mandates that, in the event of death, no one is allowed to deposit a corpse in a mortuary or any other location beyond two months from the date of death.

Additionally, mortuary attendants are obligated to report any corpse that surpasses one month after being deposited.

“Any person who contravenes the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment to a term of 6 (six) months or both,” the law said.

Also, preserved corpses shall not be exposed for more than 30 minutes from the time of exposition. Instead, they may be kept in a secure room or any concealed location on the premises. Condolence visits after burial/funeral ceremonies should not extend beyond one day.

No public display of casket, street blocking during burial ceremony

The law states that “No person shall block or cause to be blocked any street/road in the state for the purpose of any burial except with permission from the appropriate local government authority.”

The law prohibits any public display of a casket for fabrication and sale within the state. Violation of this provision subjects the offender to an offence, and upon conviction, they may face a fine of N50,000, imprisonment for one month, or both.

Additionally, the law explains that no penalties exceeding N500 shall be imposed on the deceased family. Moreover, there will be no imposition of penalties on the family of the deceased person on the actual day of the burial.

To ensure a smooth funeral ceremony, the family of the deceased is required to settle any outstanding levies owed to the community or religious body before the commencement of the funeral.

No second funeral rites after burial

Furthermore, the law prohibits the conduct of second funeral rites after the burial, except in cases of legacy. Addressing the need for burial grounds, the law mandates the Commissioner in Charge of Land to establish a burial ground in every community in the state.

Simultaneously, the Ministry of Health is entrusted with the responsibility of disposing of any rejected corpse by the deceased’s family and any unidentified corpse reported within the state burial ground.

There will be no wake-keeping for deceased individuals in the state, and all vigil-mass/service of songs/religious activities preceding the burial must conclude by 9:00 p.m. No food, drink, life band, or cultural entertainers are allowed during or after these ceremonies.

All burial/funeral ceremonies for any deceased person in the state are limited to a single day. In the event of a death, burial mass/services must commence by 9:00 a.m. and must not exceed 2 hours.

No condolence gifts to family of the deceased

During condolence visits, individuals are prohibited from presenting condolence gifts exceeding monetary value, limited to items such as one jar of palm wine (Ngwo/Nkwu Enu), one carton of beer, and one crate of soft drink.

Throughout any burial or funeral ceremony in the state, particularly concerning “Ibuna Ozu Nwada” and related rites, the deceased woman’s maiden family is prohibited from making demands exceeding N10,000 (Ten Thousand Naira).

No individual is allowed to engage in the destruction or instigation of the destruction of cash crops, economic plants, household utensils, or any type of property, whether by youths, condolence visitors, masquerades, or any other individual.

Furthermore, the use of any type of firearm, excluding small cannon Prohibition guns (Nkponana), is strictly prohibited in any burial or funeral ceremony within the state.

Special considerations for widows and widowers

Upon the formal report and negotiation of the death of a married woman to her maiden family, the deceased woman’s husband’s family is restricted from presenting any item exceeding N10,000. There is no obligation of expenditure on the family of the married woman.

Starting with the enforcement of this law, no person is permitted to subject any relative of a deceased person to a mourning period lasting more than one week from the date of burial or funeral.

Widows and widowers are granted the freedom to resume their normal business activities after the conclusion of their mourning period. No widow shall face restrictions from any public place post-mourning, and neither widows nor widowers nor any person or group, shall wear a mourning cloth for mourning purposes beyond the designated mourning period.

Additionally, no person or group is allowed to deprive a widow of sleep during her mourning period, and no one is authorised to force a widow to shave her hair during the burial ceremony of her husband. A widow has the liberty to choose whether or not to shave her hair.

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