Dehinde Harrison: An Undertaker Profiting From The Dead
FOR mankind, death is an inevitable end. Whenever it comes, no matter the age of the dead, pain, sorrow and anguish are its accomplices. Ironically, this is not so for those into the business of coffin making and funeral management.
While their patrons mourn and lament over the loss of their dear ones, coffin makers and funeral managers smile very broadly to their various banks.
The business of funeral management, as far as Dehinde Harrison, the Managing Director of Ebony Funeral Home is concerned, is one profitable business. “Everyone wants to prosper at whatever they do, so do I,” he said. And what does he do to get this done? Say words of prayers and publicize his items the same way any business merchant will do daily.
And since God is no respecter of persons, this has worked for him, he said.
Thirty-five years ago when he took off with the business, his dream was clearly cut to improve on way funeral is undertaken in Nigeria.
Although he was born into the business, he never got attracted to it until after his graduation from the university.
“I saw the way the white bury their dead and I just decided to set that pace in this area at that time.” Between that period and now, he has been able to achieve this and of course, has had a lot of others following in his footsteps.
For now, he has clients in the corridors of power and the corporate world.
They scramble for his services. He has buried a lot of dignitaries and important personalities in and outside Nigeria and still hopes to carry on.
Describing the nature of business, Harrison said it operates as a faculty, which has different departments. It goes beyond just having the dead buried. He said: “We have the mortuary services where the undertakers take up the responsibilities of getting the dead person to be accommodated in the hospital’s mortuary, examination of the cause of death and when it is time to retrieve the body for burial, the managers also do that. But that is if the man or woman dies at home, not at the hospital.
“Besides, if your client desires that you transfer the corpse to your own mortuary, you will have to do so. This come with a price.” About the charges, he said: “It can be as low as N150, 000 and be as high as millions of naira. It all depends on the individual involved. As for the caskets, the prices again depend on whether it is an imported or local one”.
The imported ones start from N2million to N5million or thereabouts, while the locally made ones could be sold between N200, 000 and N300, 000”, he said.
On how his company has coped with the stiff competition in the market, Harrison said perfection and expertise have been his watchword. “If you are perfect in your services, you are bound to remain in business. And if it’s otherwise, you will soon be pushed out of circulation,” he averred.