Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Rivers government has directed that bereaved families who intend to bury their loved ones during the Covid 19 pandemic will compulsorily sign an undertaking to pay 10 million naira to the Rivers State Government should they breach any of the stipulated state burial protocols.
This and many others are contained in the Executive Order Prescribing Guidelines for the Conduct of Public Burials in Rivers State signed into law by Governor Nyesom Wike.
The law partly states that, “A written undertaken, signed by the applicant. The applicant shall pay a fine of N10,000,000 (Ten million naira) to the Government of Rivers State for any breach of condition, guidelines or protocol specified in the approval,” the order stated.
The order also directs that applications for approval relating to a person who died from February must be accompanied by a death certificate showing the cause of death of the deceased and in particular, show clearly whether it was related COVID -19 and that all applications for burials must be addressed to the Governor through the office of the Commissioner for Health.
Where it is confirmed a deceased died of COVID 19, the order insists the funeral must hold between 9am and 12noon with an attendance of not more than 50 including family members.
Attendants at such funerals which will be closely monitored by Health Ministry officials would be required to maintain two metres social distance and host families must provide running water and soap for regular washing of hands.
The Executive Order also prohibits wake keeps or service of songs in funerals involving COVID 19 deaths during the period of the pandemic.