The Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council has instituted a burial tax of FCFA 300,000 to discourage compound graves.
The burial fee was deliberated and adopted by councillors of the Limbe City Council during last month’s first ordinary session for 2020.
Besides the FCFA 300,000 fee, the private land where such a corpse is to be buried must be fenced among other conditions that have to be met.
“I want to add that the FCFA 300,000 is not the only requirement for a Compound Burial,” said Motanga Andrew Monjimba, Limbe City Mayor. “From January 1, 2021, you must have a Building Permit for your compound and the compound must be fenced, there should be no well or stream passing about a minimum of 100 meters away from the fence. There was already existing law on Compound Burial, we only added FCFA 300,000 to discourage people from engaging the act.
In his quest to discourage burials away from cemeteries, Motanga initially proposed that the burial tax be fixed at FCFA 500,000, but councillors during the July 23 session rejected the amount as being too high. Not even a plea from the Mayors of Limbe II and III for indigenes to be given a consideration could dampen Motanga’s resolve.
In the end, 22 councillors voted that FCFA 300,000 be paid before corpses can be buried in places other than cemeteries.
“In any case, I want to start by saying that it was a decision after a very heated debate of the board, comprising of 30 City Councillors and three Ex-Officio members (the Subdivisional Council Mayors),” Motanga told The SUN in an interview denying claims that he had forced his will on the councillors. “Maybe people may think that they were influenced in one way or the other by the executive, No! That’s wrong. I cannot influence 33 people with the wrong idea. I put the idea no doubt, but the City Councillors saw it worth upholding and voted for it.”
In justifying the necessity for such a decision and why indigenes will not be given any consideration, Motanga said: “We are in a city, no longer in villages. If any village is found in this city, it has to respect the norms of the city. With that in mind, we have to discourage Compound Burial, in one way or the other.
“Compound Burials were becoming so rampant; this town is called upon to develop, if not today, tomorrow. If we just continue issuing Compound Burials for free, it’s going to open a floodgate for almost everybody to go for it and our hands will remain tied to comply.
“But, let’s not forget that these same Compound Burials which the Council may be giving today for free, tomorrow if there is a developmental project that falls in an area where there are graves, those concerned will only come out with the authorization which was issued by the Council for the burial!
“Believe me, you will be paying for exhumation or compensation for a grave not less than FCFA 1.5 million, minimum. Imagine that in line with such a project there are about ten graves!
“Where are we heading? We cannot live in a town where everywhere there are graves! The Council has done everything to be able to put a decent grave space at the Slaughter House. It is indeed getting full but we already have a piece of land for a new site.
“There FCFA 250,000 is paid for burial. We understand that not everybody can pay FCFA 250, 000, reason why there is another burial space behind the Catholic Mission, where FCFA 20,000 is the burial fee. So, everybody finds his/her place, let people not only look at the FCFA 300,000 but also let them look at the future of our city. It’s a great city where people should try and visualize it in the next 50 years…I will not be alive certainly but we want to leave this town in the hands of other people who will be able to see a great town, not a cemetery, tomorrow.”