Rep to states: Abolish tradition imposing financial burden on bereaved families

Clement Jimbo, a member of the house of representatives, has asked state houses of assembly to abolish traditional practices imposing financial burden on bereaved families.

Speaking with journalists, Jimbo, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika in Akwa Ibom, said it is a “repugnant” practice for members of a community to demand money or other items from families seeking to bury their loved ones.

Recounting his experience, Jimbo said when his mother passed on in 2018, the community made financial demands on him, while threatening repercussions if he refused to comply.

“I’m a Christian and I believe what is written in the 66 books of the Bible. Jesus died and was buried the same day,” he said.


“Even in our society today — in Islam — even if you’re the president, if you die today you are buried the same day. There is no financial burden levied on the society or members of the family.

“Where did we get this tradition that when somebody dies, we stand to throw a ceremony? Even in the western countries, see how they conduct their burial. A few family members come in and they bury the dead and everybody goes to their tent.

“When somebody dies, the next thing, you put on social media, set committees for friends to contribute funds, and it becomes a trend.


“Even when nothing happens, people will still come out and lie that somebody has died because they know that funds will be contributed.

“As an undergraduate, I studied a course titled ‘Nigerian legal system’. Under it were practices that are repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

“Where your beloved one dies and the village will come with all kinds of requisition. The men will come with their list, the women with their list, and the youth will come with their list for you to give mandatory things in order for you to bury your loved one. Where did we get all these?

“It happened to me. When I buried my mum in 2018, they came with all kinds of lists. I told them: ‘to hell with you’. I can only give what I have. You don’t impose this nonsense on me.


“They said if I don’t do it, I won’t bury my mom.  I said it would never happen.

“So you see traditions and practices that keep people in bondage because people are afraid of what might happen to them spiritually so they succumb even if they don’t have.

“Trust me, if I had all the money at that time, I would have given to them. It would have been my joy but I did not have and the people did not bother to find out.”

The lawmaker said he has discussed the issue with the speaker of the Akwa Ibom state house of assembly, adding that other states should consider abolishing the practice as well.



Speaking on his achievements as a member of the green chamber in one year, Jimbo said he sponsored two bills: one proposing the establishment of a technology transfer commission for local production, and the other seeking to establish a federal college of science and technology in Akwa Ibom.


The lawmaker said both bills have scaled first readings.

He said he moved a motion to address gaps in pension laws to ensure that retirees receive a chunk of their savings.


“We saw the gap that existed in the 2014 Pension Act. We called the action of the federal government to see how to bridge the gap,” he said.

“The gap: Upon retirement, 24 percent of your savings that you have saved for 20 to 30 years is given to you and 75 percent is kept with pension fund managers.


“This money is kept and they would recycle this money with all kinds of investments without recourse to the original owners of the money.

“It’s wrong. Give these guys their money. Let them use it for whatever purpose.

“The other day, federal retried directors were here in this office. As retired directors, some served in finance, and some in top MDAs. They are receiving N40,000 a month, while some get N35,000.

“What message does that signal to those who are currently directors? It is to tell them that now that you have the opportunity, steal as much as you want because this nation will never take care of you upon retirement.”

Jimbo said he has also implemented several projects in his constituency such as medical outreach programmes, ICT training for youths, and providing laptops for empowerment.

He said youths should be allowed to lead, noting that if the younger generation were given the chance to showcase their leadership abilities, Nigeria would not be in its current state.

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