The director of MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL has advocated for creation of a unified voice in the funeral industry which can push a united cause that is favourable to Nigerian government and all stakeholders on funeral insurance policy.
In an interview with the London-certified funeral director, he stated that creating an association for funeral directors in Nigeria will result in a win-win situation for the government, insurance brokers, Nigerians and the directors.
Olumuyiwa Onikoyi emphasised the importance of funeral insurance policy to include less financial and logistics burdens on the relatives of deceased; ease of doing funeral business; cutting the red tape to give way to modern approaches and reduce risks amongst other benefits.
He said, ” To create an enabling environment for funeral directors, the main issue is identifying the strategies which the government will push out. In Nigeria currently, we don’t have a unified funeral directing association which is very important if we want to have a headway and gain the government’s attention. All funeral directors need to have one unified voice that will stand and push the cause of the industry across to the government”.
He also stated that livestream coverage during funeral services is gaining prominence considering the impacts of the pandemic lockdown amidst other changes, an encouragement for MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL who have prior plans to venture into broadcasting on radio transmitters as a means of contributing to social distancing.
However, the reluctance of some clients in Nigeria to foot all bills relating to effective delivery of the services which is seldom encountered with overseas clients, is proving to be a challenge. In his words, “MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL have received a lot of success in the areas of livestreams during funeral services. We intend getting into broadcasting burial services on AM/FM transmitters so people don’t have to get out of their cars”.
“At MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL, we have been doing drive-by funerals. We once had a young woman that passed away and the family really wanted to have a service, so we did a set up in our parking lot, and more than 10 cars drove by and paid their last respects to the deceased”, he added.
Onikoyi, a Master’s Degree holder in Information Security and Computer Forensics from University of East London, MPhil in Cyber security and BSc in Computing Information System from Goldsmith College, University of London revealed that Covid-19 has effected diverse changes in the industry.
With the availability of the webpage www.mofuneral.com, it has become easy to engage clients and complete all pre-arrangements virtually. He further expressed surprise at African system not embracing cremation, especially considering the changes which the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to funeral services.
“One surprise we had at MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL is that the pandemic has not increased demand for cremations. Notably, As African we are not really into Cremation but the shutdown/Lockdown may also be reversing the trend toward traditional funerals.”
According to him, “…the key reasons why many people are choosing cremation are: separation of family across the U.S. (non-traditional family nucleus); increasing acceptance of the cremation process in our culture; eco-consciousness tendencies in consumers (don’t want to take up precious land space with a traditional burial in a cemetery; etc.”
“Pre-planning arrangements culture is also on the rise. The percentage of the population that feels it’s important to pre-plan funeral and cemetery/vaults purchases has jumped up. MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL pre-need appointments have really picked up. We can send you all you need for the planning of your loved ones funeral electronically”, he said.
With offices in UK and South Africa, he revealed that most of the MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL committed employees had to work from home in compliance with Covid-19 regulations to ensure efficient delivery of services.
He added that Covid-19 played a significant role in the recent upsurge witnessed in the funereal industry.
“Senior managing partners at MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL have continued to come into the office with strict Covid-19 regulations adherence — even as many employees work from home — to show solidarity with the workers who have to go into houses and hospitals to retrieve the remains of those who have died.”
“MO FUNERALS INTERNATIONAL view ourselves as ‘final responders’, which is a play on the words ‘first responder’. When the pandemic hit, it gave a chance for the industry to thrive, because we were going to be there, no matter what we had to go through to be able to serve our communities”, he added.
He further added that the idea to venture into the industry came to form when he travelled abroad, though he grew up as a member of Boy’s Brigade. As a Senior Project Manager at Ministry of Defence in UK where he was the focal point for bereaved fallen officers, the experience gained and moments shared propelled him to engage in the funereal industry.
“Seeking to promote one-stop funeral directing business in Nigeria, my role as a managing partner is to provide a memorable experience for the deceased’s family to reflect the celebration of their life style even in death via phone or face to face, as well as to build customer loyalty by leveraging interpersonal skills and offering top customer service to our numerous client during the most difficult time of losing their love ones.”
“With over 10 years of professional experience in dealing with bereavement across multi-cultural ethnicity around the globe and Nigeria in particular, these tasks often entail the embalming and burial or cremation of the dead, as well as the arrangements for the funeral ceremony (although not the directing and conducting of the funeral itself unless clergies are not present)”.
“Funeral directors may at times be asked to perform tasks such as dressing (in garments usually suitable for daily wear), casketing, motor hearse, music, and pall bearing who are the professionals that carry the casket before being interred.”