The Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. (Dr.) Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor has advised the people of Anambra State, to adhere to the provisions of the Anambra State Burial Law, so as to avoid frivolous and unwarranted expenses during funeral ceremonies. Ezeokafor stated this while delivering his Easter message, at St. Patrick Cathedral Awka. He said that the idea of compelling bereaved families to undertake certain expenditures just to bury the dead was completely absurd, as such families, according to him, were made to go through excruciating experiences, to meet the demands of burial rites. The Catholic prelate said a situation where the bereaved was compelled through obnoxious tradition to kill a cow for their late grandfather or great grandfather, before a burial ceremony was conducted, should be abolished because such practices has plunged many families into debt and impoverishment. He said that the provisions of the law on conduct of burial ceremonies in Anambra State was clear as crystal, and that people should not be subjected to undue financial pressure, just to pay last respect to their loved ones, especially when they don’t have the means to carry out such ostentatious ceremonies.
On the issue of clearance before burial rites, Bishop Ezeokafor stated that only the dead should be cleared, and not the entire household or extended family members. He added that burial was an occasion of mourning not merry-making. He said: “Anambra State Burial Law provides that you bury the dead within two months of his demise. You also clear only the dead. It is not stated that one should kill cow for his father’s father or great grandfather who were pagans in their life time. “One can kill a cow for his own father because the care between father and son is reciprocal. More so, Nigeria is talking of restructuring, and if we restructure the laws of the land, it will be good for us all.” He however expressed great concern over what he explained as the emergence of neo-paganism, adding that young people were returning to idol worshipping. While emphasizing that paganism was pure deceit, the Bishop advised parents and guardians, to bring up their children in the fear and doctrines of God, so that when they grow up, they will not depart from it,.