By Momoja N. Lappia
In the wake of growing resentment vis-à-vis the bushiness and trespassing of graves at the Bo burial ground, Waste Manager Bo City Council, Samuel Hinga Navo, has said ‘managing graveyards is but an expensive business.’
Bo City Council this 2017 devolved management of the city’s central graveyard to Waste Management shortly after consenting with Welth Hunger Hilfe (WHH) as funders.
This has come following grumbles by people that the graveyard is poorly planned, bushy and was littering.
However, Manager Navo has said that the sad state of affairs of the city’s graveyard is as a result of insufficient funds required to properly manage the yard.
He claimed his administration inherited a very low pricelist for graves and family from his predecessor Bo City Council.
“Imagine bereaved families paying about a Le 100,000.00 for grave,” Navo said, “Isn’t that ridiculous? How can one expect a grave to be cleaned up and protected for pittance?”
“Land is a scarce and costly asset. It also doesn’t mean that a land should be cheap because it acquired for the purposes of burying corpses.”
He said outside protecting the cemetery from trespassers and land grabbers, it needs to be regularly brushed by a well-paid labor force.
Because Bo City Council was offering an unattractive monthly salary, he inherited a staff capacity of six, which in itself is not much in attending to the average three (3) corpses’ burial a day.
As his company’s intention in the management of the graveyard, he (Navo) said just after taking over from the BCC, he intensively has analyzed the old system in order to unearth lapses and proffer possible solutions.
This exercise, he said, has empowered them earmarking and relocating the graveyard, employing more workers, introducing modern burial technologies and sourcing more funds.
Augustine Blake, who doubles as cemetery head, outlined pressing difficulties faced which he said include the negative public perception, bushfire and lack of personal protective equipment.
“Most observers attach evil to our work and of course ostracize our occupation,” the 18-year cemetery worker complained.
This he claimed has been scaring away plenty unemployed young men from opting to work at the cemetery.
On the causes of bushfire, Blake blamed marijuana smokers who use the cemetery as hiding place for their criminal activities.
Bushfires are mainly caused by the irresponsible disposal of marijuana and cigarette butts.
He said that the problem of bushfire can be resolved by fencing the cemetery.