This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Thursday, December 10, 2015
MURIC COMMENDS LAGOS GOVT FOR SHUTTING MOSQUES & CHURCHES OVER NOISE POLLUTION
11th December, 2015,
MURIC COMMENDS LAGOS
GOVT FOR SHUTTING MOSQUES & CHURCHES OVER NOISE POLLUTION
The Lagos State Environment Protection Agency (LASEPA) yesterday announced
the shutting down of 53 churches, mosques and hotels in the state over noise
pollution. The shut places of worship were accused of constituting nuisance to
residents as they use residential places for their religious activities.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) gives kudos to LASEPA and the Lagos State Government
(LASG) for taking this bold step.
This development is further proof that LASG is ready to walk its talk as
Lagos is generally referred to as the center of excellence. It also proves that
the state government is committed to the improvement of health of its citizens
as well as the maintenance of decorum, civilized living, law and order.
call on the owners of the affected religious houses, their pastors and Imams as
well as Lagosians in general to take the action of LASEPA in good faith and to
turn a new leaf. This is no case of victimization or abuse of fundamental human
The fact is that Nigerians are fond of abusing religion. Nigeria is the
only country in the world where people hide under the canopy of freedom of
religion to infringe on Allah-given fundamental human rights of others.
It is our contention that ignorance, arrogance, callousness, lack of
respect for the rule of law as well as crass impunity are factors responsible
for noisemaking in places of worship. We therefore invite LASEPA to lay more
emphasis on educating Lagosians on the effects of noise pollution on residents.
pollution has been largely responsible for falling academic standard in schoolsbecause noise from
places of worship penetrate homes and distract students who are busy doing
their school assignments, teachers who are marking their students’ scripts,
lecturers who are busy researching in various fields of human endeavour, etc.
It is an irony that the children of pastors and Imams who are responsible for
the noise are also victims of their parents’ thoughtlessness.
also affects human health. It
causes deafness, stress and sleeplessness (which may lead to high blood
pressure and hypertension). Sick people who happen to live near places of
worship may be sent to their early graves. It also causes poor productivity at
work as workers whose sleep is disturbed at home end up dozing or even sleeping
in their places of work.
importantly, noise pollution has been responsible for
road accidents and the attendant deaths over the years as motorists fall asleep
on the wheel due to their inability to sleep soundly in the night as a result
of noise from places of worship in their vicinity.
We are aware that the 53 affected places of worship are not the only
places where pandemonium reigns supreme in Lagos State. In fact there are
hundreds of other offenders with whom nemesis has not caught up. We remind the
authorities of such religious centers of the long arms of the law.
MURIC laments the sad phenomenon of
religious overzealousness in Nigeria as a whole and that of Lagos in
particular. We are nonplussed at the high rate of corruption despite the
proliferation of churches and mosques in the land. The leaders who stole
billions of dollars which are currently being investigated were shuttling
weekly between Jerusalem, Makkah and Abuja. Yet it did not stop them from
pocketing our commonwealth and subjecting us to abject poverty.
We therefore charge LASG and its
anti-enviromental pollution agency, LASEPA, to go one step further by banning
preaching inside commercial vehicles.
It is so widespread that an attempt
was even made last week to export it outside Nigeria when a pastor started
preaching inside a London bus. Other passengers promptly shouted him down and
the driver called in the police when the religious zealot refused to stop
LASG may also use its propaganda
machinery to raise awareness in this regard. Preaching inside
commercial vehicles is a keg of gun powder. It has created tension
several times in the past and it is capable of causing religious crisis in the
near future if the practice is not nipped in the bud.
calls on the Lagos State House of Assembly to dust up its enabling laws on the
protection of the environment. There should be enabling laws for the
prosecution of those who endanger the lives of others by disturbing the peace.
We appeal to religious leaders to organize seminars and workshops for
pastors, Imams and all those who manage places of worship. The seminars should
come under themes like ‘Live and Let Live’, ‘Positive Use of Religion’, ‘Using Religion
For Human Progress’, etc. The discussants should lay emphasis on the need for
maintaining decorum and eliminating noise in places of worship.
conclusion, we commend LASEPA for this bold action. The environmental agency
must not relent in its effort to rid Lagos of environmental abuse. We appeal to
LASG not to listen to blackmail from any quarter.
Lagos is the Center of Excellence and Lagos must get it right. We appeal
to the pastors and Imams in the affected places of worship to take LASEPA’s
action in good faith. We urge other places of worship to take the cue. We advise
Nigerians to adopt moderation in their practice of religion. Lastly, we invite
other states to emulate this great step taken by Lagos State.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)