By Matthew Ajai-Kume
Benue State House of Assembly has called on the State Traditional Council to conscientize people of the state on the negative implications of indulging in expensive burial rites.
The House made the call after deliberating on a motion sponsored by the member representing Makurdi North State Constituency, Hon. Alfred Emberga during its Thursday’s plenary held at New Banquet Hall, Government House, Makurdi.
The House resolved that, the Benue State Traditional Council should enlighten the people of the state on the dangers of embracing alien cultures without first weighing their implications.
“Burials in Benue State should not be more than 10 days from the date the person is confirmed dead”
Earlier, the Sponsor of the motion, who is also the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Emberga, noted that burial rites form part of a people’s culture and cannot be thrown way since all humans are mere mortals and are bound to die.
He said, “The people of Benue State in historical times had simple and fantastic burial rites where the dead were mourned and buried within three days without incurring costs for food, drinks and expensive tombs and caskets”.
“The influence of western civilization and inter-tribal marriages on Benue culture has led to imitation of alien cultural practices, especially expensive burial rites where the burden of paying mortuary bills, procuring goats, drinks and expensive caskets is placed on daughters of the family who are themselves struggling to survive in their matrimonial homes”, he stated.
Hon Emberga expressed concern that, many family heads do not understand with those who truly cannot afford to bear the cost of items imposed on them during burials, leading to unnecessary enmity and sometimes bewitchment in the family.
“The economic upheavals experienced since the beginning of the 21 century and the current economic realities do not support extravagant life styles and so many families are becoming poorer as a result of these expensive burial rites.”, he added.
Seconding the motion, Member Representing Kwande West, Hon. Thomas Dugeri said the Church, especially the Catholic, NKST and others have stipulated some days within which a member will be buried, saying the move has reduced several expenses the families of the deceased would have incurred.
In their various contributions, the members representing Mata, Gboko East, Oju 1, Mbagwa, Kyan, Apa and Konshisha State Constituencies, Honourables Simon Gabo, Becky Orpin, Saater Tiseer, Emmanuel Shimawua, Abu Umoru and Cephas Dyako, respectively commended the sponsor of the motion and described the motion as apt, stating that it would help in reducing the burdens, especially on daughters during burial rites.
Meanwhile, a bill for a Law to provide for the establishment of the Benue State Signage and Advertising Agency (BESSAA) and for other matters connected thereto, 2023 has scaled second reading.
Leading debate on the bill during Thursday’s plenary of the House, held at the New Banquet Hall, Government House, Makurdi, Member Representing Mata State Constituency, Hon. Simon Gabo informed his colleagues that, the target of the Bill is to set up an agency that will manage, regulate signage and advertisements in Benue State by enforcing standard best practices to engender decency in the advertisement industry.
He said, “The jurisdiction of the agency shall encompass out-door advertisements via sign posts, billboards, fliers among others. In discharging its duties, it shall create employment opportunities and contribute to the Internally Generated Revenue of the state by charging a minimum fee to be paid by each category of signage users for out-door advertisement purposes which may be reviewed from time to time”.
Hon Gbao explained that, to entrench a culture of decency in signage and advertisement, the agency shall periodically produce and circulate booklets containing the framework for the display of signage by users in Benue State, carryout periodic sensitisation to relevant stakeholders on the expectations of the law and the need for compliance towards fostering decency in the towns and cities of Benue State.
Contributing, member representing Ogbodibo State Constituency, Hon. Samuel Agada said, other states of the federation that have passed the law are enjoying the fruits of the law, emphasizing that, if the bill is passed into the law, it would be of immense benefit.
On his part, member representing Apa State Constituency, Hon. Abu Umoru called on the House to work with relevant bodies to make the law function effectively for the good of all.
Clerk of the House, Barr. Bernard Nule read the bill for the second time while the, Speaker, Hon. Hyacinth Dajoh referred it to the House Standing Committee on Information and Orientation for further scrutiny.
Similarly, a bill for a Law to provide for the establishment of Benue State Youth Development Commission, Implementation of Sustainable Youth Policy and other matters therewith 2023 also scaled second reading during Thursday’s plenary.
Leading debate on the Bill, Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Micheal Audu stated that when the Bill is passed into law and the Development Commission is established, it would create activities that can take Youths out of many vices that could truncate their lives.
The member representing Konshisha State Constituency, Hon. Cephas Dyako said, if the Commission is established, it would serve as a hub for the training of Benue Youths in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other development areas.
In their separate contributions, the members representing Obi and Kwande West State Constituencies, Hon. Moses Ogbodo and Hon. Thomas Dugeri , respectively noted that, if the Bill is passed, it would empower Youths in the area of skills acquisition and other areas that can attract progress to their lives.
Speaker, Hon. Hyacinth Dajoh, who presided over the Thursday plenary asked the Clerk of the House, Barr. Bernard Nule to read the Bill for a second time and the Bill was referred to House Standing Committee on Youth and Sports for further legislative business