The Lagos State Government has shut down the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Ministry and six other churches in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria over noise pollution.
Officials of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA stormed a branch of the Lord’s Chosen Church at 25 Omobola Street, Lawanson, Surulere area at the weekend and shut it down.
Other affected churches are Bible Church, FESTAC; The Chapter of Christ Church, Oregun, Ikeja; Assemblies of God Church, Ikeja; The Golden Gate Church, Ifako-Ijaiye and Seek and Save Ministry, Abule Egba.
The closure of the churches is coming after pre-sanction notices were given to the churches to abate the noise pollution emanating from their worship centres.
General Manager, LASEPA, Engr. Rasheed Shabi said the closure of the churches became imperative after several abatement notices issued to them were disregarded.
According to him, some of the churches even rebuffed meetings called by the agency on how to resolve the issue.
“The agency’s stance is clear on issue of noise pollution level permitted. This has been communicated to all worship centres in the state.
“The level of noise pollution allowed in the state is between 55 decibel during the day and 42 to 45 decibel at night,” he said.
Shabi said the state government was determined to reduce noise pollution in the state because of the anomalies and diseases related to it.
He enjoined worship centres in the state to comply with the state’s standard on noise, while suggesting the use of sound proof equipment by churches to reduce noise during their worship services.
Meanwhile, the large expanse of land in Ayobo where the temporary headquarters of Deeper Life Bible Church is situated may soon become a subject of litigation, as the Olalere Family has asked the church to vacate the land.
The over 150 acres of land covering Amule, Ayobo and Onikanga communities, currently accommodates the Deeper Life Bible Church main auditorium, the International Bible Training College and the proposed Anchor University owned by founder of the church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi.
Although Deeper Life Bible Church has been in possession of the land for over 30 years, the Olalere Family who now claim ownership of the land has declared the church as an illegal occupant and warned that the family may resort to court action to evict the church if it does not legalise its tenancy of the land.
The Olalere family in a letter to the church dated 7 February 2012 noted that by virtue of a 2010 court ruling by Justice Oyekan Abdullahi, the entire Ayobo community land belongs to them, and any occupant currently on the land must renegotiate their tenancy with the family.
When our reporter contacted the church over the development, secretary to the church, Pastor Jerry Asemota, said he was personally unaware of any letter to the church by the Olalere family.
He, however, said that only the legal department of the church could confirm receipt of such letters.
When asked about the Olalere family’s claim of ownership to the church land, he said: “I can assure you that we are not illegal occupants. We have been in possession of this land for 30 years and if the initial owners have problem among themselves, they should settle it amicably.”
—Kazeem Ugbodaga & Henry Ojelu