Lagos shuts 23 churches, clubhouses over noise
The Lagos State government yesterday clamped down on 23 churches in the state over disturbing noise coming from their domains. Among them are the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Renewal Church in Surulere and Foursquare Gospel Church in Ogudu, Ojota area of the state.
Also sealed off were, at least, nine clubs and hotels, following a series of complaints by their neighbours.
The exercise, carried out by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), forced occupants out of the listed facilities and placed same under lock and key.
Among the churches also sealed were: Fire and Rock Evangelism Ministry at No. r 2, Ifelodun Close, Aguda Coker Village; Prayer Ministry (resident in a single shop apartment) on 4, Bayo Osinowo Street, Ogudu; Modalem Gospel Ministry at Chief Benson Close, by Panti Police Station Yaba and K&S Church, Matanmi Street, Onipanu.
Others are Celestial Church of Christ, Ojokoro; Anglican Church of Nativity, 8/12, Apena Olusegun Opaleye Street, Okota and Word Healing and Adoration Church on 6, Alade Olufin Street, Bariga, all in Lagos.
Among the clubs and hotels shut are: La Vida Club, Ojota; Evening Class Hotel, Gbagada; Hogan International Hotel, Ogudu; Hammond Guest House, Ikotun; Kamal Crib Club, Ketu; De Royal Night Club and St. Anthony Event Centre, Liasu Road, Egbe-Idimu.
Contrary to claims by some occupants that they were not duly informed before the exercise, General Manager (GM) of LASEPA, Adebola Shabi, said that enforcement action was only taken after all efforts to ensure willful compliance to environmental laws were resisted.
Shabi explained that the agency usually started with an invitation to the occupants, sensitisation on the noise level allowed by the law and guidance on how to ensure compliance, but to no effect.
According to the GM: “For all of these cases, after all said and done, complaints (from neighbours) kept coming. Both day and night, it is always a report of ‘they have started again’ after we must have warned them severally. For instance, the Kamal Crib at Ketu, I was at the club myself about four weeks ago. I gave them advice on the open space, but the complainant kept calling – Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
“We saw that this is a long weekend and Lagosians need to rest properly, that is why I have chosen to act today (Thursday). Because I know that from today till Tuesday, people will be resting in their homes and I want them to have peace,” he said.
Shabi added the K&S Church in Onipanu had been warned on several occasions.
“I’m a Celestian and there is a Celestial Church we sealed in Ojokoro. The Shepherd and Women Leader were here and I educated them. In my own church at Agege, we don’t disturb people around us. Why do you need to bring your services or night vigils openly to disturb your neighbours? You don’t need that and that is what we are out to enforce in good faith,” he said.
The GM said further that the facilities would only be re-opened after occupants have presented action plan on compliance and fines paid to the state’s coffers.
The agency has till date sealed over 100 of such facilities this year alone.
The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency Law 2012 (as amended) prohibits the use of public addressing systems outside of religious organisations and provides for noise control in both residential and industrial areas According to the law, nobody is allowed to make noise above 55 decibel during the day in residential areas and noise not exceeding 45 decibel is allowed in such areas at night.
In industrial areas, 90 decibel of noise level is allowed during the day, while the noise rate must not exceed 80 decibel at night. In mixed residents where there are both residential and commercial set ups, it is 65 during the day and 55 decibel at night.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.