In a rare display of professionalism, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, had resolved the issue between a Surulere, Lagos resident, Mr. Justin Akpovi-Esade and a branch of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, on Thomas Animashaun Street, Aguda, Surulere.

It would be recalled that Akpovi-Esade in a press statement last month accompanied by a video of the church's loud night activity cried out to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu and LASEPA to come to his aid as regards the church's night activities which, according to him, has been depriving him of reasonable sleeping time. The distraught resident consequently sent a formal complaint to the agency’s complaint link and in less than three days, got a call from the Zonal Director of Orile-Iganmu zonal office, Mrs. Toyin-Idowu who assured that the agency would look into the complaint and act on it accordingly. True to her words, she led her team to the church’s premises on March 24 to ascertain if the religious centre indeed was guilty of noise pollution. “That same day, she sent an invitation for me to come to the agency's zonal office on Coker Market Road, in the Lagos State Water Corporation Mini Waterworks Yard, Orile Iganmu on Wednesday, March 27. This would be the quickest response one was getting from a government agency as regards a complaint, I must say,” Akpovi-Esade said in a statement of appreciation to LASEPA.

The church delegation of four led by an Assistant Pastor, Mr. Chidike Oluaoha all arrived with the complainant at 12 noon appointed time and Mrs. Toyin-Idowu wasted no time in telling all parties what the investigation team found out during its visit. The investigation team observed among others the church was situated in a residential area; the church was fully enclosed; the general aesthetic was satisfactory; church was soundproofed, however, there was a slightly high noise from the side of the church facing Oyebode Street.

The zonal Director revealed that some neighbours questioned admitted that the noise from the church premises was indeed disturbing while others said they did not mind. Some however declined to comment according to her because the issue involved a religious centre.

The Assistant Pastor, Oluaoha, however apologised to Akpovi-Esade for the inconveniences the church's night vigils especially the periodical choir rehearsals may have caused him adding that it was not intentional as the church had made efforts to soundproof the worship hall but for a small section where sounds appear to be getting out from. “We(the church) are sincerely sorry for the inconveniences you may have suffered and we appreciate your feedback and will take steps to ensure it never happens again. As a church, our mission is to spread love and live in peace with people in the environment we operate, that would even encourage them to come to God, not this. That is why we are sincerely sorry that this has happened and on behalf of our Pastor, and members of the church, I apologise to you.”

Akpovi-Esade on his part said his aim was not to instigate any punitive action against the church reason why he was happy with the way the Orile Iganmu zonal office of LASEPA handled the issue. “I must thank the Zonal Director, Mrs. Toyin-Idowu for the professional way she handled this issue. I thank LASEPA as an agency too because it showed that government agencies are now more responsive to the citizenry and it is a clear indication of a new Nigeria and Lagos is always the first to chart this kind of course. I did not petition to LASEPA to take any punitive action against the church, I wanted the body to do exactly what it has done by telling all parties what to do. I am happy, this meeting turned out the way I expected.”

To ensure compliance, Mrs. Toyin-Idowu in a letter distributed to all parties at the end of the meeting titled ‘RE: NOISE POLLUTION FROM THE CHURCH'S ACTIVITIES, reiterated the resolutions reached which included:

“Ensure the part of the church facing Oyebode Street is fully soundproofed within six months; reduce the noise level to the agency's permissible limit for a residential area which is 55dB during the day and 45dB at night; put in place measures to control church members from using musical instruments(drum) to disturb the neighbourhood; self regulate the noise level by downloading the noise meter app or procuring the noise meter and ensure good neighbourliness.”

“Please note that Compliance Monitoring Team of the Agency shall be paying visits to your church without prior notice ro ensure compliance”, the letter concluded.