Lagos state is the most busy and body filled cities in Nigeria, with some estimates putting its population at around 20 million.
For this reason, noise is a common facet of the daily life in Lagos.
From the blaring horns of cars, buses and every other medium of transportation, the shouts of people as they go about their daily routines and the exultant night life, there are many sources of noise in the big city.
When the Lagos State government took a vow to make the city, the biggest in Africa, noise-free by 2020, they surely undertook a great task, one that by its very ramifications, would be lauded at accomplishment but would face many battles on its way there.
The Lagos State government seem to have made their choice to hit at the heart of the matter as they shut 70 churches and 20 mosques in an attempt to reduce high noise levels.
Religion is a dear topic to the heart of most Nigerians, the city is therefore filled with places of worship at practically every nook and cranny.
The churches and mosques are generally not quiet, loud prayer and singing are a part of the make up of most church worship times and the Muslim call to prayer is often done loudly.
Last year August, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LEPA) closed 22 premises after residents complained about noise emanating from them. The latest crackdown has seen more churches and mosques shut down. Officials also disclosed that ten hotels, pubs and club houses were also closed.
The general manager of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LEPA) said the agency would no longer allow people to pray in makeshift buildings and tents. Mr Shabi said since start of the operations, noise levels had been reduced by about 35%, but this was not a “pass mark yet”.
He reiterates the goal of the government thus;
“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,”
He also revealed that mosques complied with their instructions more than churches because “when they are ordered to shut down, they “instantly bring down their speakers or reduce the noise they make”.