Lagos State House of Assembly late Friday passed the controversial Cremation Bill into law and instructed that the law be sent to the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for his assent.
The law now makes it legal for the state government to cremate unclaimed corpses in its mortuaries after a period of time. It also allows for voluntary cremation, whereby a person may signify interest to be cremated when he dies or a deceased’s family members can decide to have the corpse cremated.
But according to the law, this must be done in approved crematoria.
The bill, which was passed, after it was read for the third time by the Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru, also looks at the possibility of having private investors establishing such crematoria in the state.
The House had taken the report of the House Committee on Health concerning the bill on Thursday evening and adopted it.
As passed by the House, Section 2 stipulates that no cremation may take place except 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.
Section 6 of the law, stipulates the guidelines to getting permission to cremate and lists those who could apply for permission to cremate to include a child or children of the deceased; a close relative of the deceased; an undertaker and an agent/legal representative.
Section 8 of the law gives the Medical Directors of the state hospitals power to order cremation of unclaimed bodies in their respective mortuaries but that this must be with the consent and approval of the Commissioner for Health.
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 adding, however, 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 bill was criticised by many residents of the state.