Lagos — The Lagos State government has shut down 23 churches in the state over disturbing noises coming from their domains.
The churches include the Lord's Chosen Charismatic Renewal Church in Surulere and Foursquare Gospel Church in Ogudu, Ojota area of the state.
Also sealed off are at least nine clubs and hotels following a series of complaints by their neighbours. The exercise was carried out by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) which locked up the listed places.
The agency has so far sealed up over 100 of such places this year in line with the State Environmental Protection Agency Law 2012 (as amended) which prohibits use of public addressing systems outside religious organisations and stipulates noise control in residential and industrial areas.
General Manager (GM) of LASEPA, Adebola Shabi, said the enforcement action was only taken after all efforts to ensure wilful compliance to environmental laws were resisted.
Shabi said the agency usually starts with an invitation to the occupants, sensitisation on the noise level allowed by law and guidance on how to ensure compliance.
"I am a Celestian and there is a Celestial Church we sealed in Ojokoro. The Shepherd and Women leaders 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." Shabi said, adding that the sealed places would only be re-opened after the occupants present action plans on compliance and fines paid to the state's coffers.