Lagos state government on Sunday shut eight worship centres across the state for contravening environmental pollution regulations.
General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dolapo Fasawe, said the facilities were closed down to save the people from a health crisis that might arise from the activities of the centres.
The affected facilities are located at 68, Old Ota Road, Orile Agege; 4, Ademola Oshinowo Street, Off Love Street, Ketu; 1, Dele Amuda Street, Lekki; 17, Ajileye Street, Ilaje Bariga; 39, Kusenla Road, Elegushi and Ajayi Bembe Street Abule Oja, Yaba, among others.
The LASEPA boss, who led the operation, vowed 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.
This was just as she enjoined that the mutual respect of views, culture and religion, which the annual tolerance day celebration symbolised, must be adhered to by all residents to foster peace.
Fasawe, while noting that religious organisations were supposed to demonstrate good conduct, tolerance, brotherliness and good neighbourliness, lamented that the conduct of some overzealous churches and mosques had caused frictions in the society.
She, however, assured residents of the state that LASEPA would not rest on its oars in bequeathing a good ambience to all inhabitants, warning that recalcitrant organisations or worship centres, known to be disturbing the peace of Lagos residents, would face the full wrath of the law.
“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,” she said.
Speaking further, LASEPA boss said the agency was 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 yielded the result,” Fasawe said, even as she noted that the state government recognises the fact that the state thrives on peaceful co-existence among practitioners of the religions.
Fasawe, while saying that the state government was greatly concerned about the need for religious activities to be conducted in a manner that worshippers would not infringe on others’ rights, decried what she termed the illegal and unauthorised conversion of residential property into religious uses without recourse to the wellbeing of others and the state environmental law, describing such attitude as bad.
According to her, the state governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, was against such inhuman act of social intolerance in the name of worship that could breach the peace in the state, explaining 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 the agency.