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General News of Thursday, 28 February 2008

Source: pfm

Dead Bodies For Sale?

A legal consultant and member of the American Bar Association, has begun a fight against incidents where some Ghanaians buy funerals in order to make profit from them. This habit, he noted, has become popular and widespread among Ghanaians, thereby resulting in some families running into huge debts all in the name of funeral ceremonies.

Mr. Kofi Atiemo-Gyan, who is based in Nigeria, made this known at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday.

According to Atiemo–Gyan, who is also the chairman of patrons of the Ghanaian community in Nigeria, “gone were the days when the people of Ghana mourned the dead by abstaining from food and drink and were greatly renowned for this modest custom. This time around, it is time to make profit and merry.

“People now buy golden caskets which are now reputed to have more commercial value in Ghana than gold, while textile firms now lay more emphasis on orders for funerals than for general commercial purposes.”

According to him, it has now become a common practice for funeral celebrations to start from Friday, which is a working day, a situation that has a negative impact on the nation’s economy and productivity. Fighting this practice with other Ghanaian lawyers, the legal practitioner said funerals have taken another disturbing and wasteful trend where wining and dining, with bills running into billions of cedis, have become the order of the day.

“Ghanaians should understand, at this level of our civilization, that the country’s economic stability has to be taken into consideration and individuals who are privileged to be wealthy should invest and create employment for the youth and school leavers; funeral ceremonies should not be used to display one’s wealth.” He revealed that ostentatious nature of funerals encourages violent crime, fraud and corruption, adding that this must be discouraged in all its ramifications in order not to allow it to become a legacy for future generations. He stated that government officials were among those Ghanaians who were often carried away by such funfairs to the extent that government business was occasionally disrupted.

He said it was ironical that “when a man is alive, he is deprived of good food, water, clothing, healthcare and shelter but when he dies and is not in any position to appreciate any gesture, millions of cedis are spent on his burial.” He asked Ghanaians to rather show love, care and concern for the living.

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