Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola today signed into law the controversial cremation bill, which gives the state government powers to burn unclaimed dead bodies in morgues scattered across the state as well as relatives of deceased persons.
Speaking at the occasion, Fashola said enactment of the law shows how the concept of globalization has taken roots in the state. He lauded members of the state House of Assembly for responding to the yearning of the people for the law, adding that the way the lawmakers handled the law showed that cremation is the best way to go.
In his brief explanation to the law, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye said the law makes cremation voluntary. “It is voluntary in the sense that it allows for voluntary cremation, whereby a person may signify interest to be cremated when he dies or a deceased’s family members who must attain the age of 18 years can decide to have the corpse cremated.
He added that the law now makes it legal for the state government to cremate unclaimed corpses in its mortuaries after a period of time.
The Attorney General of Lagos noted that if owners of the corpse also failed to show up to collect the ashes after 14 day notice it will be disposed by the state government subject to the consent and approval of the Commissioner for Health.
Ipaye explained that Section 2 of the law stipulates that all cremation must take place in a crematorium established by the Ministry of Health or by any other body upon the recommendation of the authority and approval by the Commissioner for Health.
He said that Section 6 provides guidelines to getting permission to cremate and list of those who could apply for permission to cremate including children of the deceased; a close relative of the deceased; an undertaker and an agent/legal representative.
The commissioner said Section 10 of the law states that the cremator in charge of a crematorium must not dispose of the ashes remaining after a cremation except in accordance with any reasonable written instructions of the applicant.
Ipaye affirmed that the cremator in charge may bury the ashes in a burial ground if, “within one year after the cremation, the applicant does not give reasonable written instructions for the disposal of the ashes.” The governor also signed law establishing Ibile Oil and Gas Company and Law regulating the Christian and Muslims pilgrims’ welfare board into law.