The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday inaugurated the 260,000 capacity first private cemetery in the state, saying the concept will avert environmental hazards and safeguard the health of the citizens.
The Governor spoke in Ado Ekiti while inaugurating the ‘CitiGate Park and Gardens Cemetery’ located in the Eminrin area of the state capital.
Fayemi, represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Barr. Iyabo Fakunle-Okieimen, submitted that the smooth take off of the business was a testimony that the state is encouraging private investors to invest their hard-earned monies in the state .
The Governor said: “With this investment by a private body, Ekiti is no longer a rural setting. In the USA, Britain and other European countries, you can’t just bury your dead at home. Aside from the fact that it causes groundwater pollution, it devalues our buildings and reduces its aesthetic values.
“This is a public-private initiative, but will be driven largely by the private owners. We appeal to the drivers of this business to try and replicate this across the 16 local governments of Ekiti State, so that our late parents can be buried easily in cemeteries that are neater and well laid out.
“This is cheaper compared to what you can get in Lagos and other cities and our people can now bring their dead parents home to be buried from other parts of the country”.
Fayemi assured that every step will be taken to support business owners in Ekiti through the relevant legal framework and giving of tax waiver.
Also speaking about the prospect of the business, one of the company’s directors and former Ekiti Deputy Governor, Surv. Abiodun Aluko, said the concept of a private cemetery is universal, owing to growing population and Ekiti should not be exempted from the emerging global civilisation.
“The land we have here can accommodate 260,000 corpses. But this pilot scheme we are starting is for only 260 corpses with the hope to expand in future until we exhaust our land resource to full capacity.
“We have provisions for both christains and Muslims. With time, we will build event facilities like hall and church here, where people can hold their burial procession and even reception close to the cemetery to minimise cost,” he said.
The Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ayodele Olaiya, who said the investment was a Public-Private Partnership, added that it will generate revenue into government’s coffers and prevent outbreak of epidemic diseases.
“In this part of the world, we drink majorly from boreholes and wells, so cemetery should be far away from homes in order not to endanger our health”, Olaiya said.