Two environmental officers of the Lagos State Government were detained on the order of the pastor of Sunrise Cathedral Church,Ikotun area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria while carrying out official assignment.
There had been complaint of noise pollution emanating from the church located at 25, Oluwaseyi Street in Ikotun by residents in the area who wrote to the government to abate the nuisance.
Following the visit of the officials to the church, they were detained for about three hours before a taskforce went to their rescue.
Consequently, the church was on Tuesday shut down by the state government for detaining the officials and for failing to abate the nuisance.
Two government officials were said to have arrived the premises of the church to dialogue with the leadership but were locked inside.
The driver of the bus the government officials came with was said to have waited for hours outside the gate and had to call the office having noticed that the two staff were not coming out of the church.
The pastor of the church and his wife were said to have escaped when taskforce officials came to the premises to rescue the detained staff, while the guard on duty was0 was arrested.
Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello confirmed the incident, saying that officers of from the Ministry were prevented from carrying out their lawful duty.
According to him, “upon the receipt of complaints on noise pollution from the church, our officers had gone to carry out monitoring exercise in the premises with a view to encouraging abatement of the nuisance. However, the pastor of the church and his wife not only prevented them from doing this but manhandled and also succeeded in locking them up for up to three hours.
“ But for the wisdom of the driver who called and informed the office, these officers would have remained in the church custody. It took the intervention of the taskforce on Environmental Offences to secure their release.”
Bello, who said the state government would not tolerate environmental abuses, urged all to carry out their businesses and activities with respect for the rights of others.
For the erring Sunrise Cathedral, he said that the church would be made to respect the laws as no individual or organization had the right to take the laws in their own hands, adding that “we all have a duty to our environment as well as to the good health and well-being of our neighbours.”
Bello urged all Lagosians to ensure compliance with environmental laws and cooperate with officers from the ministry as doing this was in their best interest.