The Lagos State Government on Sunday 17th November closed down eight worship centers across the state for contravening environmental pollution regulations. Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), who led the exercise, said that there would be no hiding place for any religious organization which failed to operate within the ambit of the law, regardless of their faith.
The Islamic Group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) have rose up to support Lagos State Government to wage war against noise pollution. In a statement on Monday by MURIC Director, Ishaq Akintola, he disclosed that his office had received several complaints and petitions from many residents and associations across the state against some religious centres, clubs, hotels, etc.
He said: “We in MURIC back LASG’s move one hundred percent. There is an urgent need to inject a heavy dose of sanity in some religious centres in particular. The Lagos environment has been bastardised by tramadolised religiosity. Decorum is no longer respected in the way people preach.
“They raise noise level to the highest decibel and traumatize the neighbourhood. Dusk to dawn services rob Lagosians of sleep as preachers scream to high heaven. Worse still, the champions of articulated proselytisation take over commercial vehicles in the daytime preaching from one destination to another and making it impossible for the drivers to concentrate. This is not allowed in sane societies. It is a mark of religious fanaticism.
“The noisy night vigils and preaching inside commercial vehicles have been partly responsible for road accidents as motorists deprived of sleep and proper rest at night often doze off at the steering wheel, killing innocent Lagosians. In addition, noise pollution has been party responsible for poor academic performance among students as they find it difficult to study in an acrobatically religionised environment.
“Furthermore, this gymnastic spirituality has been responsible for the death of many sick Lagosians while the illness of several others have deteriorated due to their inability to get proper rest in their homes. We note with great interest that Lagos has been paying attention to this social cankerworm over the years.
“We therefore hail LASG for being consistent in the war against environmental pollution. We urge the Ministry of Environment to fight the battle resiliently no matter whose ox is gored. We advise all mosques in the state to obey the rules on noise pollution or face the music.
“Except on Friday during the khutbah (sermon), mosques should switch off their public address systems after the call to prayer (adhan). Other irrelevant messages are for those inside the mosque, not for those in their private homes. Lagosians reserve the right to enjoy their privacy. Your own rights stop where those of others begin.
“As we take a break, we charge LASEPA to visit the full wrath of the law on any mosque or church that violates the noise pollution law. There should be no sacred cows. People who refuse to do things properly do a lot of harm to society.
“We advise the commissioner to dust up his files and step up the petitions. Offenders will not take LASEPA serious unless action is taken against them. It is all in the interest of a better society.”