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How Governor El-Rufai won my heart with controversial religious bill

Nasir-el-Rufai

So, some months ago, Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna state, proposed a bill which aimed regulating religious activities in Kaduna state and Christians threatened to let hell loose if the bill was passed into law.

See me? I’m a very wired somebody. While the rest of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters called for the governor’s head for daring to come up with such obnoxious bill, I was quietly perusing the bill, asking God to show me a sign.

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Then bang! I stumbled on a section of the bill which abolished religious activities in public. With that, Governor El-Rufai won my heart so I moved on. Just which sane society condones the kind of public nuisance we live with here in the name of religion?

Talking about public nuisance, it appears that Full Life Christian Center is taking it to a whole new level. I appreciate the fact that the church has good taste; from the magnificent Noah’s Ark auditorium, state-of- the-art equipment, high class congregation to mind- blowing miracles.

But it becomes a serious problem when the church brings her state-of-the-art loudspeakers, mounts them in a public place and decides to blowup people’s eardrums all in the name of evangelism.

In a sane society, some legal actions would be taken against the church and whoever mounted those loudspeakers opposite UniUyo first gate, last evening. Those things were so loud that the grounds were vibrating. For God’s sake, there’s a university around there and such distraction is totally uncalled for. Moreover, there are people living and doing business there. Is there no such thing as “people’s comfort” in the church doctrine?

President Buhari with religious leaders

The potency of the gospel isn’t in the loudspeakers. So, biko, our Full Life brethren, help us. On a very serious note, I must say that we’re endangering our lives with the way we’re going with this religion thing. The ignorance and fanatism have reached an alarming stage. Churches are posing too many health risks to people these days. For instance, there’s a two-storey building along the street where I reside.

The building is mainly residential except for a few rooms leased as offices. However, some people decided to convert what was meant to be an office to church and presently, there three different churches in the building. I don’t know if there is some kind of competition among the three churches because hardly a day passes by without one or two of them having an activity. The crazy thing is each of them has a loudspeaker strategically mounted outside the rooms, apparently in order to get the attention of the public.

Every time: “babababababa…lalalalalalalala… mamamamamama”. Each loudspeaker with its own tongues. And their tarry nights…even the street doesn’t sleep. Don’t even bother about those living in the building, only God can reward their long-suffering. Recently, I have noticed that even Christian stationery shops in Uyo have also joined this trend. These days one hardly pass by a such shops without hearing things like “buy your Bible. Bible is now cheap…five, five hundred naira. Come and buy your Bible now oo”. And most of these shops are in residential buildings. The street shows and open air programmes by churches and corporate companies on daily basis have also been serious sources of noise pollution. The record/CD shops which are almost everywhere on the streets of Uyo have not been helping matters either.

Sometimes, I wonder if the shop with the loudest music attracts the most customers. Herbal medicine sellers aka Dr. Iguedo Gogo Cleanser and the gang, have also been a plague. These ones have even succeeded in invading our rural communities with their nuisance. Out of sheer ignorance, we are taking so much for granted. According to a report by WHO, “exposure for more than 8 hours to sound levels in excess of 85 dB is potentially hazardous; to place this in context, 85 dB is roughly equivalent to the noise of heavy truck traffic on a busy road”.

A renowned environmental analyst, Vaibhav Upadhyaya in his article “Noise Pollution – Should We Worry?” says “Being a noisy city is a curse in itself, as noise pollution causes severe diseases like depression, migraine, aggression, hearing loss, sleep disturbance and tinnitus. A noise polluted city not just affects humans severely, but on the other hand it caused loss to the wildlife and pet animals too”. Noise pollution poses too many health risks to both humans, wildlife and even the environment. For avoidance of doubt, in 1974, in an attempt to protect public health and welfare against the adverse effects of noise, the EPA published so-called safe levels of environmental noise that would permit normal communication both in and out of doors.

Noise pollution interferes with the ability to comprehend normal speech and may lead to a number of personal disabilities, handicaps, and behavioral changes. These include problems with concentration, fatigue, uncertainty, lack of self-confidence, irritation, misunderstandings, decreased working capacity, disturbed interpersonal relationships, and stress reactions. Some of these effects may lead to increased accidents, disruption of communication in the classroom, and impaired academic performance.

Particularly vulnerable groups include children, the elderly, and those not familiar with the spoken language. I fear that we have already endangered ourselves too much but it is not too late for an attitudinal change. To this end, there is an urgent need for the Akwa Ibom state government, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and all the relevant government agencies to ensure that the issue of noise pollution is properly addressed. The State House of Assembly in particular, must urgently come up with a law that will help regulate the activities of churches, corporate organizations and business outlets in the public. Noise pollution is dangerous and must be drastically tackled.

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