You Don’t Make An Unjust Law For The Church”- Archbishop Okeke Tackles Gov. Soludo Over Anambra New Burial Law
ONITSHA—The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, and Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State were locked in a war of words yesterday over the governor’s threat to impose a fine on the Obimma family for celebrating funeral ceremonies of Ezinne Grace Obimma in a flamboyant manner.
Recall that there is an existing law against lavish burial ceremonies in Anambra State, enacted during Willie Obiano’s administration.
Soludo had at Nkwelle Ezunaka during the requiem mass for Ezinne Grace Obimma, mother of the spiritual director of Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Rev Fr Emmanuel Obimma, lambasted the family, particularly Charles Obimma, who was a member of the legislature that passed the state burial law in 2019, for an over-shooting limit of burial expenses prescribed by the law.
The governor said the insignificant, low-key burial of his late father, Pa Simeon Soludo, was child’s play compared to that of the late Madam Obinna, who died at 88.
Countering the governor, Archbishop Okeke flayed him for stepping into an area he had no jurisdiction, asking him to respect the boundaries or principles of separation of jurisdiction.
The cleric said: “ In separation of power, you don’t make laws for the church on how to bury the dead because it’s bound to fail.
“It’s not the duty of the governor to make law on how Christian burials should be done because there are more serious things the government should do than burials. Any law that is impossible to keep or enforce should be considered unjust.”
According to him, the church can only make laws where it has exclusive ecclesiastical powers and not for the government because they remain two separate jurisdictions.
He pointed out that the church made suggestions on how to cut expenses during burial but noted that the choice of celebrants to decide whether to spend hugely or meagrely depended on them.
Arumelu, nwoke mua just na etetọkọ akpana.
By Nwabueze Okonkwo