person_pin Okey Onwuka
query_builder April 18, 2019 17:20:45


By Florence Oduah

Ekwulobia (Aguata LGA), April 18, 2019 (MOI) Parish Priest, St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral, Ekwulobia, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Onwuatuegwu has hailed the ``Anambra State Burial/Funeral Ceremonial Control Law, 2019’’ as progressive.

The bill, recently passed by the Anambra State House of Assembly (ASHA) would aim at controlling burial/funeral ceremony expenses within the state.

It specifies among others that funeral ceremonies would hold for one day with no gunshots, cut short ceremonies, nor subjecting deceased’s family to more than a week of mourning.

Fr. Onwuatuegwu thanked God for the newly passed bill, saying he never knew that such a bill could be passed by the House at this point in time.

The priest, who said this in an interview at St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral, Ekwulobia, noted that it was a welcomed development.

He noted that for a long time, the Church had been fighting to cut down expenses and other unnecessary rituals associated with funerals.

 ``The new ASBFCAB has given backing to the agitation and voice of the Church,” he added.

He pointed out that he had already started creating awareness of the bill in his parish, saying that the use of one day for funeral is workable.

Fr. Onwuatuegwu said that some communities within the state use only a day for funeral and called for maintenance of discipline on time allotted to funeral ceremonies.

``It is possible to use a day for funeral ceremonies. Some communities within the state have adopted it and it is working.

``Groups and consolers should maintain and adhere to their apportioned time. This bill will also cut down expenses for the family of the deceased.”

He added that some hypertensive patients had gone into panic at the sound of gunshots, which come unannounced at funeral ceremonies.

He, however, said that not subjecting any member of the deceased family to more than a week of mourning would enable them to engage freely in providing for their families.

In separate interviews, the Traditional Ruler of Ekwulobia and Chairman, Aguata Traditional Rulers, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke expressed mixed views at the bill.

He noted that the good side supersedes the bad side as one day funeral would cut down on unnecessary expenses by the people.

``The use of one day for funeral is very good. It is possible if groups will maintain their time as it will reduce financial, emotional and physical stress,” he added.

Onyeneke hailed some aspects of the bill, while condemning the aspects of no gunshots, praise-singing and refreshments during funeral ceremonies.

``Gunshot is significant. In the traditional Igbo belief, it is believed that gunshot marks the time when the spirit of the dead leaves for its resting place.

``We Igbos believe in 'Ikwu n’ ibe', when ones in-laws or kinsmen come to condole with him during funeral ceremony; they deserve to be offered kola nuts, drinks and food.

``Some of the in-laws may come from far off communities; even if they are from within same community, they should be treated well. That aspect of the bill is not necessary,” he noted.

The royal father advocated praise-singing as funeral oration.

``Some people can decide to sing the oration instead of reading it. So, praise singing should remain,” he suggested.

The bill has yet to be Assented to by the Governor, to make it legally binding on the people of the state. (MOI)