Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, on Wednesday inaugurated a 260,000-capacity cemetery in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that it is the first private-owned cemetery in the state.
Fayemi, while inaugurating the â€˜CitiGate Park and Gardens Cemetery,â€™ located at Eminrin area of the state, said the facility had the capacity to avert environmental hazards and safeguard the health of the citizens.
Fayemi, represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Iyabo Fakunle-Okieimen, said the initiative symbolised the governmentâ€™s efforts towards encouraging private investors in the state.
â€œThe smooth take-off of this business is a testimony that Ekiti is encouraging private investors to invest their hard-earned money in the state.
â€œWith this investment by a private body, Ekiti is no longer a rural setting.
â€œIn USA, Britain and other European countries, you canâ€™t just bury your dead at home.
â€œAside the fact that it causes ground water pollution, it devalues our buildings and reduces its aesthetic values.
â€œThis is a public-private initiative but will be driven largely by the private owners.
â€œWe appeal to the drivers of this business to try and replicate this across the 16 local governments in the state, so that our late parents can be buried easily in cemeteries that are neater and well laid out.
â€œThis is cheaper compared to what you can get in Lagos and other cities and our people can now bring their dead parents home to be buried from other parts of the country,â€ he said.
The governor assured that every step would be taken to support business owners in Ekiti, through the relevant legal framework and giving of tax waiver.
Mr Abiodun Aluko, a former Deputy Governor in Ekiti and one of the facilityâ€™s Directors, said the concept of a private cemetery was universal, owing to growing population.
According to him, Ekiti should not be exempted from the emerging global civilisation.
â€œThe land we have here can accommodate 260,000 corpses.
â€œBut this pilot scheme we are starting is for only 260 corpses, with the hope to expand in future until we exhaust our land resource to a full capacity.
â€œWe have provisions for both Christians and Muslims.
â€œWith time, we will build event facilities like halls and Churches here, where people can hold their burial procession and even reception close to the cemetery to minimise cost,â€ he said.
Mr Ayodele Olaiya, the companyâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, described the investment as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) saying it would generate revenues into governmentâ€™s coffers and prevent outbreak of endemic diseases.
â€œIn this part of the world, we drink majorly from boreholes and wells, so, the cemetery should be far away from homes in order not to endanger our health,â€ he said.