Nigerian city shuts down 70 churches, 20 mosques due to noise pollution

(Photo: © Peter Kenny / Ecumenical News)Nigerian churhces grouping leader Rev. Ibrahim Yusuf Wushishi

The state government in Nigeria's commercial hub of Lagos has shut down 70 churches, 20 mosques, about 11 hotels, club houses and taverns in a bid to cut down on noise pollution in the massive city.

Bola Shabi, the general manager of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, says the state government will no longer allow make-shift buildings to be used as places of worship, This Day newspaper reports.

Shabi said, "About 70 churches, 20 mosques and about 11 hotels, club houses and beer parlors were shut and we've given them some directives to follow."

Lagos is a megacity of some 20 million people infamous for clogged traffic and booming noise emanating from churches and mosques to spread their messages with horns and loudspeakers, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Lagos environment boss said his agency plans to cut noise in the state to some 70 percent immediately and the authorities are seeking to have a zero noise level in four years.

"As at today, we are only able to reduce the noise level to about 35 per cent. That is not a pass mark yet. So, until we reach that target of 70 to 80 per cent, we will continue the enforcement," said Shabi.

"Enforcement is a continuous exercise and we have set a target for ourselves. We want to ensure that Lagos is noise-free by the year 2020. With our status as a mega city, by year 2020 we will be free of noise," he said.

"We've been so strict now that we are not going to even allow make-shift churches in the state any longer," said Shabi.

He said make-shift churches are those using tents and uncompleted building.

"But I will strongly tell you that the level of compliance is more on the mosque area, because immediately you shut them, they instantly bring down their speakers or reduce the noise they make."

State authorities have already limited blaring of horns and sirens by motorists to reduce noise and pollution.

Of Nigeria's 181 million people Chrisitains and Muslims make up almost half each, but in Lagoos those following Christianity outnmber followers of Islam.

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