No Going Back On Cremation Law —Lagos Assembly

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The Lagos State House of Assembly has intensified efforts to convince residents of Lagos State on why they should accept and support its cremation bill currently at one of the stages in the process of becoming law.

The lawmakers had faced criticisms from members of the public since the lawmakers began consideration of the bill which is aimed at getting corpses cremated for families who want their deceased to pass through the process instead of burying the corpses in graves.

Many of the residents had kicked against it, saying it was against the culture of the country.

But at a plenary, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, confirmed that a lawmaker had agreed to be cremated at death. He did not however mention the name of the lawmaker.

The Speaker who led some members of the House on a fact finding mission to Florida, USA, to assess the way cremation is done there, also said: “I remember one of the lawmakers in our delegation say that with the way they treat their dead ones here (America) one would be happy to die.”

Ikuforiji, praised the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Avoseh Hodewu Suru, for coming up with ideas that are aimed at making the health sector effective even though he never practiced as a medical doctor but was a teacher before venturing into politics.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Taiwo Kolawole, who was also part of the delegation, said he was excited at the way the western world treated their dead and that he actually had the opportunity to see it when he travelled with the Committee on the fact-finding mission.

“You can even eat in their burial grounds, but I know nobody would try it in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos.

“If you go to Atan Cemetery, you would not even want to stay there for a minute.

“We had thought they would just throw the corpses into the crematorium, but this is not so, there are special boxes and they are really honoured while being cremated.

“You would also be moved when you see the urn in which the ash of the cremated corpse is kept. They also have a cemetery where the ashes are placed.

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“I don’t know whether we can get there but we must try to get there.”

In his report to the House, Avoseh, told his colleagues that the team was led to Florida by consultant and Managing Director of TOS Funerals, Mrs. Taiwo Ogunsola.

He said what the lawmakers saw was very educative, eye opening and interesting as they went round two cremation centres and another place where cremation materials were constructed.

“I am happy to inform the House that most of the things being aired on television about cremation since we put up this bill are far from what happens at the cremation centres.

“What we are trying to do in Lagos is far from what they show their viewers in order to bring sentiment,” he added.

The Speaker, in his concluding remarks however, said the way Nigerians lives their lives and the way the government treats its citizens would leave anyone wondering and that the treatment of the dead in Nigeria cannot be compared to what they do in western countries.

“You are talking of the place for the dead, how do we treat the place for the living in Nigeria?

“Our roads, how do we treat them? How do we take care of our homes and surroundings? Go and see the gutters in front of everybody’s home.

“There were days when people did not allow stagnant water in gutters around them, but these days, they allow it until it almost gets into their houses and they blame the government for everything,” the Speaker said.

—Eromosele Ebhomele