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Graveyards Of The Nigeria’s Rich And Famous…See How They Bury Their Dead

Graveyards Of The Nigeria’s Rich And Famous…See How They Bury Their Dead
September 09
13:53 2017

Nobody makes a lovely corpse but Nigeria’s superrich would have none of that; the recent funeral culture among Nigeria’s high society sees them burying their dead in ways that emphasize the deceased’s comfort and elegance, even in death. Predictably, this new trend generates business opportunities for home-grown undertakers.

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Current realities within the graveyard economy point to the fact that death is not really the ultimate leveller. Indeed, the rich-poor dichotomy in life is also reflected in how the dead is eventually buried. And undertakers are exploiting the opportunities to provide exclusive and comfy resting places for the superrich.

Besides the quest to ensure that their deceased are buried with elegance, not a few rich folk have claimed that the fear of grave robbers also drives them to seek secure resting places for their dead in highbrow cemeteries. It’s even more astounding to note that some rich folks while still alive are purchasing exclusive graves for themselves in preparation for the afterlife!

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For instance, billionaire Globacom boss and oil magnate, Mike Adenuga, allegedly purchased a multi-million naira grave for his late sister, Mrs. Esther Osunade, in the exclusive section of the prestigious Vaults and Gardens cemetery in Ikoyi, Lagos, which is reportedly worth N40 million. Her next-door ‘neighbour’ in this exclusive section is Gboyega, son of another super rich man, Otunba Adekunle Ojora and his fashionable wife, Ojuolape. Gbegi, like he was popularly known, was born in 1960 and died in 2011. Right next to him is one of the founders of GT Bank, Tayo Aderinokun. The three superrich families apparently spent N120 million securing cosy resting places for their loved ones.

The Vaults and Garden is an ultra-modern cemetery in Ikoyi, Lagos. Situated beside the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), the cemetery was declared open by former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on October 30, 2006. At the cemetery, the affluent occupy a different corner from the middle class and the average. This is probably because such grave is more spacious and boasts of a well-kept lawn, a beautiful gate, balcony, garden and whatever catches the fancy of the deceased or the deceased’s family. Graves for the middle class at the cemetery costs about N750, 000 or more.

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Vaults and Gardens Cemetery is built to accommodate people from various religious and socio-political divides. Patrons enjoy the right to erect structures on their vaults although the management of the cemetery takes great care to monitor and set a benchmark for the kinds of structure they could construct. Such measure is geared to protect the cemetery’s original layout and design from being abused or over-run by over-ambitious patrons.

One other notable feature of the cemetery is that it has vaults that can accommodate up to two caskets at a time. This means that two best friends or a couple can be buried in the same vault. There are also double-chamber or triple-chamber vaults for sale. The prices are as varied as the vaults. For the single vault, the price range is between N367, 500 and N700, 000. This differentiation is determined by the level of the density of the area you are paying for. They have New High Density vault, Single High Density vault and Single Medium Density vault while the double and triple vaults are sold for N1 million and N1.5 million respectively.

For other auxiliary services carried out on the tombs after the burial, there are charges attached. In the new price list obtained by this author, granite finishing attracts at least N350, 000, marble – N300, 000 and above, red brick – N250, 000 or more while tiling – N60, 000 and painting is N10, 000.

Vaults and Gardens flaunt a mausoleum section, which is only made available on application. The price could be as high as N10 million. And it has a hall for funeral services, which attracts N100, 000 fees for two hours. Certificate of Occupancy is normally issued on each of the vaults, and handed over to the family of the deceased. This C of O could be tenable for 25 years or more, after which the family of the deceased will have to renew such.

Another privately owned cemetery is the Victoria Court Cemetery, located on Lekki-Epe Expressway. Established in 1997, the Victoria Court Cemetery is owned and operated by an Israeli construction company, HFP Engineering. A vault there is obtainable at N400, 000 and payment is requested upfront. If the family of the deceased go through an undertaker to purchase the vault, the price could be higher as the undertaker adds the cost of other services he provides like the provision of casket, pallbearers and the funeral band. If the costs of such services are added, the deceased’s family may have to part with between N1.5million and N2.5million, or even more.

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Its owners, Victoria Court Limited describe it as a fully lit 27 hectares garden cemetery in a pastoral setting, with beautiful green and lush flora. The facilities include 4,000 burial spaces, ceremonial halls and full maintenance services at no extra cost after purchase. The Victoria Court Cemetery also has an in-house chapel where funeral services could be held, if the family of the deceased so desired. The hall, which could sit 140 guests, is for free, as far as you have paid for the vault. The only snag is that the chapel does not have a resident chaplain or pastor. So, whoever wants to have a funeral service there must provide an officiating minister.

The vaults in Victoria Court Cemetery are arranged in such a way as to enable easy access. Each grave has concrete walls with a sandy button. A concrete slab is made to be used as cover after burial. The cemetery is apportioned into two sections, with one section catering for Christians and the other section for Muslims. The idea behind the initiative is to give the dead a befitting resting place. The management claims it is out to create a lasting memory in the mind of families of the dead. If this is the position of Vaults and Gardens, how do they keep this lasting memory, which many people may wonder about? The way the place is run is quite different. The vaults are always under maximum security and this is done in such a way that the families don’t have to be bothered about the safety of their deceased relations.

Not too long ago, the Lagos State Police Command paraded a middle-aged man with seven human skulls, hidden in a sack. During interrogation, he told the police that he got those skulls from the Atan cemetery in Yaba. He explained further that he normally scaled the fence of the cemetery in the dead of the night, to exhume corpses and thereafter sever their heads from the trunks. Also, in Ibadan, a member of a vigilante group was equally caught with some human skulls. Almost on a regular basis, you get to read in the newspapers, people being caught with human skulls or fresh human heads.

Consequently, the wealthy and powerful that can afford it would rather take their deceased to more secure places for burial; like a private cemetery. This trend is catching on like wildfire in harmattan as not a few Nigerians these days spend fortunes to ensure they give their departed ones a befitting burial.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Jeleel Abas
    Jeleel Abas September 09, 19:38

    What does it benefit a man to be buried in a cosy grave while his soul is roasting in Hell Fire? The moment a person dies, the spirit-soul depart from the body and goes either to Heaven or to Hell. The body is just a container. The real person has left. If you spend your life amassing wealth through occult membership and corruption,you may buy your grave at $100m.This does not guarantee your destination after death. Ikoyi or Lekki grave is not the destination of any rich man. The final destination of the dead is either in Heaven or in Hell, depending one’s relationship with Jesus while on earth.

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