Anambra State House of Assembly on Wednesday organised Public Hearing to generate input on a proposed law seeking to regulate burial rites to curb excessive spending on funerals.
The House Committee on Information, Culture and Tourism oragnised the Hearing in Awka, to seek the input of stakeholders before arriving at a decision on the proposed law.
Speaking during the Hearing, Chairman of the occasion, Mr Charles Ezeani (PDP), representing Anaocha 2 constituency, who initiated the bill, said it was imperative to draw a line between “mourning” the dead and a “fiesta”.
Ezeani said that burial rites constituted 60 to 70 per cent of the socio-cultural activities in the state, where the wealthy showcased their economic might.
According to him, the bill seeks to curtail the outrageous demands on the family of deceased by traditions and customs enforced by elders, without any consideration for financial capability.
He said the trend also created room for unhealthy competition among families and friends, each trying by every means, to outshine the other.
“This unacceptable behaviour has informed the need for a law to control burial ceremonies and other related matters .
“The aim is to cut down drastically, the cost of burial and the manner burial activities in the state are organised.
“The aim of this bill is to encourage the celebration of people when they are alive,’’ he explained.
The lawmaker said that the bill, which outlined cost-cutting measures, revenue generation for the state, guidelines on duration, ways and manner burials should be organised, had passed its second reading in the House.
Speaker of the House, Mrs Rita Maduagwu, said that aim was to help people feel less pain when they were bereaved, not to incur debts after the loss of their loved ones.
Prof. Peter Ejiofor, former Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, said that the bill was long over-due, and called on the law makers to ensure a speedy passage.
In his remarks, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, said that the bill had a human face and assured that Churches would play their role in creating awareness on its importance.
Also speaking, representative of Civil Rights organisations, Dr Dennis Ekemezie, said enacting such law, was a welcome development.
Ekemezie however called for amendment of grey areas of the bill where infringements on Constitutional Rights, were likely .