Something for the weekend

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An insight here into the Nigerian way of death.

For mankind, death is an inevitable end. Whenever it comes, no matter the age of the dead, pains, sorrow and unquantifiable anguish are its accomplices. Ironically, this is simply not so for those in the business of coffin making and funeral management. While their patrons mourn and lament over the loss of their dear ones, the coffin makers and funeral managers smile very broadly to their various banks. This then makes real the adages that ‘it is different strokes for different folks’ and ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison.’ Odd and startling as it may sound, it is a confirmed fact that the undertaking business in Nigeria, is a booming one that permits only the bold and the liberal hearted. YEMISI ADENIRAN takes you to the world of the undertakers, as they reveal the peculiarities of their ‘calling,’ why many are favouring it all of a sudden and the challenges of the business.

The business of funeral management, as far as Dehinde Harrison, the Managing Director of Ebony Funeral Home, is concerned, is one business just like any other business … Describing the basics for the success of those in the business, he said it is all about destiny. “Ori ti yoo su’po ko ni je kalaare o gbadun. This means that when a man is destined to inherit another man’s wife, his luck will never grant the former his utmost wish of recovering from his illness. Relating this to his profession, he explained that since he has been designed to care for the dead, it is simple and normal for somebody to die.

Harrison had a query to answer: But do undertakers then pray for people to die? His prompt response, “Yes and no. We pray for the old and the aged only to die and not the young ones. When an aged person dies, it is fun and we would be free to make good charges and display all that we have at our disposal to entertain everyone. But if it is the other way round, everyone will be sober as they will be mourning. And in that wise or condition, we would not be chanced to even charge as much as we would have loved to.”

Read the entire article in Nigerian Compass here.

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