Public Health Implications of Government Negligence in Human Corpse Management in South-West of Nigeria
Main Article Content
The study examined the factors sustaining the practice of human corpse burial in residence in Nigeria, analyzed the implications of cemetery management on use for corpse interment in Nigeria, and reviewed the public health implications of residence burial in Nigeria. The research design was a case study, and data for the study were sourced from secondary materials. Information gathered was presented through thematic analyses. The study revealed that no law forbidding the interment of the dead in any part of the state, including residence. The only requirement is the consent of the government. It was also noted that there are three forms of the cemetery; community, private and public. Hence, while the public and community cemeteries are poorly managed, the private is expensive and meant for the rich. The study noted that the public health implication of residence burial includes contamination of well, water sources available to residents, and also catalysis for community transmission of contagious infection, including covid-19. The study concluded that the issues of poor administration in the public cemetery and huge costs in the private cemetery could be responsible for home interment since the law does not prohibit the act. The practice of residence burial has evidently been impacting public health ranging from water contamination to the spread of contagious infections, including Covid-19.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Ajisegiri W. S., Odusanya, O.O., & Joshi, R. (2020). COVID-19 Outbreak Situation in Nigeria and the Need for Effective Engagement of Community Health Workers for Epidemic Response. Global Biosecurity, 1(4), 1-10.
Aka. O. E. (1993). Town and Country Planning in Nigeria. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 6(3), 47–64.
Alao, D. O., Osakede, K. O., & Owolabi, T. Y. (2015). Challenges of Local Government Administration in Nigeria: Lessons from Comparative Analysis. International Journal of Development and Economic Sustainability, 3(4), 61-79.
Aribigbola, A. (2008). Improving Urban Land Use Planning and Management in Nigeria: The case of Akure. Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, 3(9), 1-14.
Asaju, K. (2010). Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria: Politics and Challenges of the 1999 Constitution. International Journal of Advanced Legal Studies and Governance, 1(1), 98–113.
Atama, C., Igwe, I., Odii, A., Igbo, E., Ezumah, N., Okeke, V., Okonwko, U., & Ugwu, C. (2021). Challenges of vital registration in Nigeria. International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 13(1), 1-8.
Atama, C., Igwe, I., Odii, A., Igbo, E., Ezumah, N., Okeke, V., Okonwko, U., & Ugwu, C. (2021). Challenges to Vital Registration in Nigeria. International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 13(1), 1-8.
Azeez, A., & Salami, K. K. (2018). Giving Back to the Elderly: Cross-Cultural Construction of Befitting Burial for the Dead in Nigeria. Journal of Population Ageing. Available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-018-9231-9
Badiora, A. I. (2020). Perceptions on corruption and compliance in the administration of town planning laws: The experience from Lagos Metropolitan Area, Nigeria. Town and Regional Planning, 76, 1-13.
Chitando, E. (1999). Deathly Concern African Christians and Cremation in Zimbabwe. Missionafia, 27(1), 10-19.
Chukwu, S. (2018). Burying of Corpses in Dwelling Houses and Residential Areas: What Does the Law Say? Retrieved from https://barristerng.com/burying-of-corpses-in-dwelling-houses-and-residential-areas-what-does-the-law-say-by-stanley-chukwu/ on 17th May, 2021.
Daramola, A. & Ibem, O. E. (2010). Urban Environmental Problems in Nigeria: Implications for Sustainable Development. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 12(1), 124-145.
Daramola, O., Ojo, A., & Joel, S. (2014). Environmental Sanitation Perception and Practices of the Disposal of the Dead in the Ile-Ife City, Nigeria. International Journal of Academic Research in Environment and Geography, 3(1), 15–36.
Ditchburn, J., & Hodgkins, R. (2019). Yersinia Pestis, a problem of the past and a re-emerging threat. Biosafety and Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bsheal.2019.09.001
Douglas, K. E. (2013). Current State of Public Cemeteries in Rivers State, Nigeria. The Nigerian Health Journal, 13(1), 58–61.
Etzioni, A. (1964). Modern Organisation. New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India Private Limited.
Fabiyi, O. (2016). Urban Space Administration in Nigeria: Looking into Tomorrow from Yesterday. Urban Forum. DOI 10.1007/s12132-016-9299-3
Fakolade, A. & Coblentz, H. S. (1981) Citizen-participation in Urban and Regional Planning in Nigeria: A Preliminary Enquiry. Community Development Journal, 16(2), 119–129.
FGN. (1992). Nigerian Urban and Regional Decree. Lagos: Government Press
FGN. (1999). Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Lagos: Government Press.
FGN. (2004). Criminal Code Act Chapter C39. Lagos: Government Press. Available at https://www.lawyard.ng/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/CRIMINAL-CODE-ACT-2004.pdf
González-Fernándeza, J., Ibá˜nez-Bernáldezb, M., Martínez-Tejedorc, J. A., Alama-Carrizob, S., Sánchez-Ugenab, F., & Montero-Juanesd, J. M. (2020). Management of corpses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. Spanish Journal of Legal Medicine, 46(3), 109-118.
Guardian. (2015). Vaults and Garden Cemetery: New. Guardian. Retrieved from https://guardian.ng/saturday-magazine/vaults-garden-cemetery-new/ on 21st May, 2021.
Idehen, O. (2019). The Impact of Typical Cemetery on Groundwater Using both Geophysical Techniques and Physicochemical Analyses of Water in South-South, Nigeria. International Journal of Applied Science, 2(2), 12–21.
Ikeanyibe, O. M. (2018). Uniformity in Local Government System and the Governance Model in Nigeria. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 53(1), 147-161.
Ikeanyibe, O. M., Chukwu, P. C., & Ibietan, J. (2019). Model and determinants of state-local governments’ relations in Nigeria. Brazilian Journal of Public Administration, 53(6), 1040-1066.
Isumonah, V. A. (2004). The Making of the Ogoni Ethnic Group. Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 74(2), 433-453.
Izunwa, M. O. (2016). Customary Right to Befitting Burial: A Jurisprudential appraisal of four Nigerian cultures. Ogirisi: A New Journal of African studies, 12, 123-145. http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/og.v12i 1.6
Jullien, S., de Silva, N. L., Garner, P. (2021). Plague Transmission from Corpses and Carcasses. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(8), 2033-2041.
Kunlere, I. (nd). Burying the dead: In the backyard or in cemeteries? The environment angle. Retrieved from https://wastesmart.org/2018/09/burying-the-dead-backyard-cemeteries/ on the 17th May, 2021.
Lee, R., & Vaughan, M. (2008). Death and Dying in the History of Africa since 1800. The Journal of African History, 49(3), 341–359.
Makinde, O. A., Odimegwu, C. O., Udoh, M. O., Adedini, S. A., Akinyemi, J. O., Atobatele, A., Fadeyibi, O., Sule, F. A., Babalola, S., & Orobaton, N. (2020). Death registration in Nigeria: a systematic literature review of its performance and challenges. Global Health Action. 13(1). Pp. 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2020.1811476
McAuley, J. W. (2003). An Introduction to Politics, State and Society. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Mohammed, S. (2020). Why the dead are not resting in peace? Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved from https://tribuneonlineng.com/why-the-dead-are-not-resting-in-peace/ on 21st May, 2021.
Moran, M. H. (2017). Funerals: The Production of “Safe and Dignified Burials” in the Liberian Ebola Crisis. Anthropological Quarterly, 90(2), 405–428.
NEST. (1991). Nigeria’s Threatened Environment: A National Profile. Ibadan: National Environmental Study/ Action Team (NEST).
Newton, K., & Van Deth, J. W. (2005). Foundations of Comparative Politics: Democracies of the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nnadiukwu, I., & Omeje, S. (2019). Effectiveness of the Mass Media Campaigns against Environmental Degradation in Nigeria (A Study of Enugu State). Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism, 9(1), 1-8.
Nwabueze, N. R. (2013). Legal Control of Burial Rights. Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2(2), 196-226.
Ogbuagu, S. C. (1989). The Changing Perception of Death and Burial: A Look at the Nigerian Obituaries. Anthropologica, 31(1), 85-101.
Ogu, I. V. (1999). Housing as graveyard; A tale of housing culture in Nigeria. TWPR. 21(3). Pp. 317–328.
Ogungbemi, A. O., Akingbade, O. H., Omunagbe, A., & King, O. R. (2020). Property value of houses with cemeteries, its psychological and health impact at Lagelu local government, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. National Journal of Advanced Research, 6(2), 28-32.
Ohwo, O. (2016). Challenges of public water provision in Nigerian cities: a review. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 6(1), 1–12. doi: 10.2166/washdev.2016.071
Ojelade, I. A., Aiyedun, T. G., & Aregbesola, B. G. (2019). Environmental Education as an Instrument for awareness creation on the Health Effects of Water Contamination in Saburi Community of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Nigeria. The Researcher’s Journal: A Journal of Contemporary Educational Research, 2(1), 1-16.
Olajide, S. E., & Abiodun, O. A. (2013). Socio-Economic and Environmental Impact of Indiscriminate Burials on Property Transactions in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. Journal of Environment and Earth Science, 3(1), 131-138.
Olajide, S. E., Alabi, O. T., & Akinlabi, T. (2013). Problem and Prospect of Housing the Dead in Nigeria. International Journal of Engineering Inventions, 2(11), 09-15.
Olomola, I. (1988). Contradictions in Yoruba folk beliefs concerning post-life existence: The Ado example. Journal des Africanistes, 58(1), 107-118.
Oluwafemi, F., & Oluwole, M. E. (2012). Microbiological Examination of Sachet Water Due to a Cholera Outbreak in Ibadan, Nigeria. Open Journal of Medical Microbiology,2, 115-120.
Oluwaleye, J. M. & Ifeyinwa, A. (2019). Democracy, Local Government and Development in Nigeria: Case of Ekiti State. Case Studies Journal, 8(1), 1–9.
Oluwaseyi, O. B. (2019). Assessment of Physical Planning Administration in Nigeria. Environmental Analysis & Ecology Studies, 5(1), 451-470.
Omonisi, A. E. (2020). How COVID-19 pandemic is changing the Africa’s elaborate burial rites, mourning and grieving. Pan Africa Medical Journal, 35(2), 1-4.
Osakede, K. O., Ijimakinwa, S. O., & Adesanya, T. O. (2016). Local Government Financial Autonomy in Nigeria: An Empirical Analysis. Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 5(11), 24-37.
Park, C. (2020). Traditional funeral and burial rituals and Ebola outbreaks in West Africa: A narrative review of causes and strategic interventions. Journal of Health and Social Sciences, 5(1), 73–90.
Premium Time. (2019). Lagos public cemeteries in deplorable state. Premium Time. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/ssouth-west/360936-lagos-public-cemeteries-in-deplorable-state.html on 21st May, 2021.
Radio Nigeria. (2020). Cemetery Robbers Meet Waterloo in Ondo State. Radio Nigeria. Retrieved from https://radionigeriaibadan.gov.ng/2020/05/26/cemetery-robbers-meet-waterloo-in-ondo/ on 21st May, 2021.
Rotimi, O., Ajayi, A. A., & Odesanmi, W. O. (1998). Sudden unexpected death from cardiac causes in Nigerians: A review of 50 autopsied cases. International Journal of Cardiology, 63(1998), 111–115.
Sandvik, K. B. (2020). Digital Dead Body Management (DDBM): Time to think it through. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 12, 428–443.
Satyapal, K. S. (2012). The Treatment of Human Remains. S Afr J BL, 1, 55-60.
Shimane, K. (2018). Social bonds with the dead: how funerals transformed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 373: 20170274. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0274
Skocpol, T. (1980). Bringing the State Back in: Strategies of Analysis in Current Research. In P. B. Evans, D. Rueschemeyer, and T. Skocpol (Eds.). Bringing the State Back in. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smirnov, Y. (1989). Intentional Human Burial: Middle Paleolithic (Last Glaciation) Beginnings. Journal of World Prehistory, 3(2), 199–233.
Solihu, H., & Bilewu, S. O. (2021). Availability, coverage, and access to the potable water supply in Oyo State Nigeria. Environmental Challenges, 5, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envc.2021.100335
Tijani, M. (2015). Inside Nigerian Cemeteries: Snake forest, ‘mad chairman’ and the dead killing the living. The Cable. Retrieved from https://www.thecable.ng/how-the-dead-kill-the-living-in-nigerian-cemeteries-2 on 21st May, 2021.
Tobins, E. A., Obi, I. A., & Isah, C. E. (2013). Status of birth and death registration and associated factors in the South-south region of Nigeria. Annals of Nigerian Medicine, 7(1), 3-7.
Uwaegbulam, C., Nwannekanma, B., & Gbonegun, V. (2018). No much space for the dead…The Guardian. Retrieved from https://guardian.ng/features/no-much-space-for-the-dead/ on the 21st May, 2021.
Vidua, R. K., Duskova, I., Bhargava, D. C., Chouksey, V. K., and Parthasarathi, P. (2020). Dead body management amidst global pandemic of Covid-19. Medico-Legal Journal, 0(0), 1–4.
Wagner, D. M., Klunk, J., Harbeck, M., Devault, A., Waglechner, N., Sahl, J. W., Enk, J., Birdsell, D. N., Kuch, M., Lumibao, C., Poinar, D., Pearson, T., Fourment, M., Golding, B., Riehm, J. M., Earn, D.J.D., DeWitte, S., Rouillard, J., Grupe, G., Wiechmann, I., Bliska, J. B., Keim, P. S., Scholz, H. C., Holmes, E. C., & Poinar, H. (2014). Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541–543 AD: a genomic analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70323-2
Woodthorpe, K. (2011). Sustaining the contemporary cemetery: Implementing policy alongside conflicting perspectives and purpose. Mortality, 16(3), 259–276.
Zume, J. T. (2011). Assessing the potential risks of burial practices on groundwater quality in rural north-central Nigeria. Journal of Water and Health, 9(3), 609–616.