Mixed reaction trails Lagos’ cremation law

Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola

Governor Babatunde Fashola signed the law on Monday.

Mixed reactions have greeted the signing into law of the cremation bill by Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State.

The law, signed by the governor on Monday, had given legal teeth to state authority to burn unclaimed corpses in its mortuaries– after a period of time.

Reacting to the development, Charles Audu, a lawyer, told said that the signing into law of the bill was a commendable effort by the governor because it would help reduce the problem of unclaimed corpses.

“This is a commendable effort by the Governor because it will help reduce the problem of mortuaries being filled with unclaimed corpses,” he said.

Adewale Adeleke, also a Lagos based lawyer, said that though the Lagos state government had signed the bill into law with good intentions, including decongesting morgues, some other things should have been considered.

“This is Africa where we have people with different beliefs, superstitions and traditions that could contradict the idea of cremating corpses; I just personally feel all these things should have been considered,” he said.

A teacher, Olaitan Aina, said that though the act was not compulsory on all residents, but the feelings of the masses should have been considered before its enactment because nobody would like to see or hear that the corpse of a relative, friend or family member was burnt.

“The act of cremating unclaimed corpses could have psychological effects on their families, if they later find out and think of what must have been done to the body. I just hope there is a form of counselling for them,” she said.

A trader, Adenike Sobowale, noted the novel idea behind cremating unclaimed corpses; but questioned what happened to those without the means for burying their relatives.

“If we can’t keep the corpse at home and we have no money for a burial yet, are we now going to be forced to leave the corpse for cremation?” she asked.

The new law empowers medical practitioners, with government approval, to cremate abandoned and unclaimed corpses, after a reasonable period of time has been given as notice.


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