EXECUTIVE ORDER PRESCRIBING GUIDELINES FOR THE CONDUCT OF PUBLIC BURIALS IN RIVERS STATE
In exercise of the powers conferred on me by sections 2, 4 and 8 of the Quarantine Act, CAP. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (Coronavims [COVID-19] And Other Infectious Diseases) Regulations, 2020 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf I, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, Governor, Rivers State, hereby issue the following Orders:
- This Order shall take effect on Thursday 5th day of June 2020 and shall remain in force till further notice.
- In this Order:
(a) “Public Burial” means any Traditional, Christian or religious burial or any burial to which members of the general public may attend or participate or is conducted within public space;
(b) “Commissioner for Health” means Commissioner in charge of the Rivers State Ministry of Health or who superintends over matters of public health howsoever designated.
- Any person who intends to hold a public burial in Rivers State or take any corpse from Rivers State to a place outside Rivers State for burial during the COVID-19 pandemic period shall apply to the Governor for approval through the Honourable Commissioner for Health.
An application for approval relating to the burial of any person who died from 1st February 2020 shall be accompanied with:
(a) a death certificate showing that the cause of death of the deceased and in particular, whether or not the death was related to COVID-19.
(b) a written undertaking signed by the applicant that:.
- c) the applicant shall pay a penalty of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) to the Government of Rivers State for any breach of the conditions, guidelines or protocols specified in the approval and set out herein; and
(ii) the applicant has read this Order and Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Other Infectious Diseases) Regulations (No.3) of 2020 prescribing the penalty for breach of the conditions, guidelines or protocols specified in the approval and set out herein.
- The Governor may approve the application upon the recommendation of the Honourable Commissioner for Health if the death certificate accompany the Application shows that the cause of death was not related to COVID -19.
- Where the death certificate shows that the cause of death was related to COVTD-19, and the deceased is to be buried in Rivers State, the Honourable Commissioner for Health shall dire. The applicant to hold the burial immediately under the supervision of officials of the River State Ministry of Health.
- Where the deceased is to be buried in Rivers State, the following guidelines shall be complied with:
(a) the burial shall be held between 9 a.m. and 12 noon (not more than three  hours);
(b) there shall be not more than fifty (50) persons including family members at the burial ceremony;
(c) every person attending the burial ceremony shall maintain social distancing of not less than 2 metres and shall wear a face mask.
(d) running water shall be provided with soap in not less than three (3) points at venue of the burial ceremony;
( e) all surfaces and enclosures shall be decontaminated after the burial;
(f) there shall be no wake keep or Service of Songs held for the deceased;
(g) the burial shall be conducted in the presence of State Government Representatives who shall observe and ensure compliance with this Order; and a camera man to video the burial ceremony.
Where the deceased is to be taken from Rivers State to a place outside Rivers State for burial, the Applicant shall so state in his application to the Honourable Commissioner for Health who shall certify same to the Governor for approval
- The Governor may approve the application under paragraph 8.
- Where the deceased under paragraph 8 died of COVID-19 related causes, the corpse shall be transported out of Rivers State under the supervision of Health Officials and the applicant shall comply with such other conditions necessary for the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 disease, as the Commissioner for Health may prescribe.
Given under my hand at Port Harcourt this 5th day of June 2020.