The Oyo State government yesterday gave a two-week ultimatum to churches, mosques, as well as clubs and restaurants to remove their outdoor speakers or face prosecution.
The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Isaac Ishola gave the ultimatum during an inter-ministerial press briefing in Ibadan, the state capital. He said the complaints and distress calls from residents made the ban necessary.
Ishola explained that the state government was committed to reducing the noise level in residential areas to 45 decibel at night and 60 decibel in the afternoon within five meters radius.
He also disclosed that some places of worship had been sealed up for noise pollution, while no fewer than 372 environmental offenders have been prosecuted in the last one year.
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism Mr. Toye Arulogun and other aides to the governor also attended the meeting.
Warning against noise pollution, he said religious activities should not be made to disturb others, adding that most of the complaints were against places of worship.
He said: “We are giving churches and mosques with external speakers two weeks to remove them. You don’t use religion to disturb others. I am a Christian and I have supervised the locking up of three churches for disturbing their neighbours with noise. If I can do that against churches I will do it against mosques and other places.”
The commissioner enjoined all owners of vehicles and motorcycles to take them for emission test at the offices of three consultants approved for the exercise.
He said: “If you own a vehicle, motorcycle or generator, it must be subjected to gaseous emission test. The essence is not to make money for government, but to control gaseous emission believed to be one of the major causes of cancer and other ailments. The ministry has two mobile courts that would sit during the day and we have arranged that magistrates courts should also try environmental offenders.”
The commissioner disclosed that the state had also approved additional 70 waste collectors, while a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed with West African Energy to convert waste to wealth in the state.