From Chuks Moses, Awka
An Nnewi Magistrate court presided over by Emekwue ACI has ordered the immediate sealing of a church -the New Spring Christian church located at Ndiakwu, Otolo-Nnewi in Anambra State.
The order was sequel to prayers bothering on hazardous human health noise pollution brought before the court by the Director of Environmental Health Services, Nnewi North local government area.
The General Overseer of the church, Pastor Uche Chinedu, was charged under the public health laws of Anambra state for mounting and amplifying no fewer than five loud speakers in front of the church premises at a very high decibels of sound, leading to heavy noise pollution.
Residents of the area are said to have restless nights, a condition, the Local Government said is prejudicial to human health and punishable under section 21 of the Public Health laws of Anambra state 2006.
Following series of complaints, an abatement notice was served on the pastor, which he ignored.
Among prosecution witnesses who testified in court included Mr and Mrs Emmanuel Onwuaha, and Mr Edwin Chukwuma who testified that the activities of the church, especially during night vigils between 11p.m and 4 a.m was not just a source of noise pollution but also a great disturbance to an aged 86 year old matriarch who resides with them.
In his defense, Pastor Chinedu presented the President General of the community -Jude Osumuo who said he was living close to the complainant’s house and that the activities of the church do not disturb anybody.
Having patiently listened to all parties in the matter, the Court ordered the closure of the church with immediate effect.
The court said it was satisfied that the activities of the church posed a serious health hazard to people living in the area, more so, since the premises was originally acquired for residential purposes.
A resident of the area, Chief Mathew Ike who witnessed the sealing of the church by officials of the environmental health department and security agents said it was a thing of joy that the court has finally come to the rescue of the people who have not known peace since the church began operations in their neighbourhood.
He said, “We are all Christians here but all attempts to make the pastor and his church see reason on the danger his activities pose to the wellbeing of the people has always been misunderstood. They always tag those of us who are complaining as being (in the) occults.”