In continuation of the sixteen days of Activism, the Edo State Government through the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues in collaboration with the Brave Heart Initiative and Josemaria Escriva Foundation embarked on a sensitization exercise centred on the need to discontinue harmful traditional practices, such as sky burial in some part of state.

The Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Hon. Christabel Omoh Ekwu explained that sky burial is a kind of burial that is given to a person whom the tradition of the land has confirmed to be a witch or wizard. At the death of such a person, his or her remains will be disposed in a hole or bush where the community considers an evil forest.

The commissioner further described such practices as barbaric and inhumane, adding that no one wished to be thrown away at death.

Hon. Ekwu, also educated the people on the health implications of sky burial as bush animals feed on such disposed bodies, since they are not properly buried in the ground.

“We eat bush meat and most of this bush animals will feed on the disposed dead bodies which is not healthy for us. And what about stream water? Rain can also wash remnant of dead persons into our streams, making the water unhealthy to use.” Hon.Ekwu noted.

The commissioner advised those involved in such inhumane practices to totally withdraw from such, as the government will leave no stone unturned to bring perpetrators to book.

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On his part, the Commissioner for Local Government Council and Chieftaincy Affairs Hon. Monday Osaigbovo described Edo State as one with good culture and interesting traditions, adding that culture is for the interest of the people and not the people’s interest for culture.

Hon. Osiagbovo further emphasized the need to discontinue traditional practices that infringe on the rights of individuals, like, the sky burial, child marriage and female genital mutilation (circumcision), adding that such practices create a bad image of Edo State and its people.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Edo State, Dr. Oluwole Uzzi (Esq) who was represented by Laureta Asaka enlighten the people on the legal implications of sky burial and other harmful traditional practices.

Also, the chairman of Akoko Edo LGA, Tajudeen Suleiman, encouraged the people to adhere to the principles guiding cultural practices in the state.

Responding on behalf of the Traditional Ruler, Chief Daniel Suru Lawani the Okogbe of Ojah appreciated the government for its unwavering efforts toward the elimination of harmful traditional practices, promising to abide strictly by the state government’s policy on traditions and cultural practices.

The high point of the event was a stakeholder engagement, a campaign/distribution of flyers and sensitization on the need to stop the practices of sky burial and its implications in Akoko Edo.