The Lagos State Government on Sunday, November 17, 2019 closed down eight worship centres across the state for contravening environmental pollution regulations.
Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), who led the exercise, said that the facilities were closed down to save the people from health crisis that might arise from the activities of the centres.
The LASEPA boss said that there would be no hiding place for any religious organisation which failed to operate within the ambit of the law, regardless of their faith.
The sealed facilities are located at 68, Old Ota Road, Orile Agege; 4, Ademola Oshinowo Street, Off Love Street, Ketu; 1 Dele Amuda Street, Lekki.
Others are 17, Ajileye Street, Ilaje Bariga; 39, Kusenla Road, Elegushi and Ajayi Bembe Street Abule Oja, Yaba, among others.
Fasawe said that mutual respect of views, culture and religion, which the annual tolerance day celebration symbolised, must be adhered to by all residents to foster peace.
She said that religious organisations were supposed to demonstrate good conduct, tolerance, brotherliness and good neighbourliness.
The general manager, however, regretted that the conduct of some overzealous churches and mosques had caused frictions in the society.
She assured residents of the state that LASEPA would not rest on its oars in bequeathing a good ambience to all inhabitants.
“Those recalcitrant organisations or worship centres, known to be disturbing the peace of Lagos residents, will face the full wrath of the law.
“In as much as the state government is positively disposed to the peaceful conduct of religion of choice by its citizens, it does not condone infringements on the rights of other residents in the name of religious activities.
“The agency is inundated with petitions and outcry from residents over the insensitivity and intolerance of some religious outlets in different parts of the state.
“LASEPA regrettably notes that several warnings issued to the management of these centres have not yield the result,” Fasawe said.
According to her, the state government recognises the fact that the state thrives on peaceful co-existence among practitioners of the religions.
“But of great concern to the state government is the need for religious activities to be conducted in a manner that worshippers will not infringe on others’ rights,’’ Fasawe said.
She added that the illegal and unauthorised conversion of residential property into religious uses without recourse to the wellbeing of others and the state environment law was bad.
She said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was against such inhuman act of social intolerance in the name of worship that could breach the peace in the state.
Fasawe explained that for the sealed facilities to be reopened, the leaders of those organisations must reach an agreement of compliance with the state and also satisfy other necessary conditions as might be prescribed by LASEPA.
By Uchenna Eletuo