When I look at our dear country, the question that comes to my mind is, 'when shall we grow out of this our present primordial stage.' My answer to that question is ,' there will never be a time like that in Nigeria.' I make my deductions from my many years of experience and painstaking observations. Owing to the nature of my work,I always read in the nights and during the weekends. I am easily distracted by noise whenever I am studying hence I decided to site my house in a supposed noiseless zone,the much-taunted Nigerian GRA.

However,anytime I wake up in the night to read,it is either one church is observing a vigil service or another one is busy carrying out deliverance service on some of their gullible members hence if i must read,it is either I make use of my earphone to muffle the external sound or I will continue my sleep. Experience has equally taught me that the time it takes me to understand a passage is shorter in a noiseless zone than in a noisy zone. Meanwhile, here in Port Harcourt,I decided not to rent out some parts of my building to anybody because I may not control sounds that will emanate from their electronic gadgets such as radios,home theatres ,televisions etc hence there are some flats in my house still vacant .

Guess what? There are churches scattered all over my house and even the one mosque situated about three kilometers to my house is not exempted as early in the morning,sounds will emanate from the loud speakers calling their members to come for early morning prayers in the mosque. Along our streets,the cassette plate sellers are busy dishing out their own sounds from their strategically located speakers while the self-acclaimed doctors dealing in herbal mixtures will be using their loud speakers to dish out wrong medical information to the unsuspecting members of the Nigerian public. The police escorting bullion vehicles as well as government officials also contribute theirs quota with their sirens to the sound 'pool'.

When this year's WAEC result was released,many people expressed their surprises at the level of performances of our students. I was not surprised because that was the goods we imported. When I was in the university, our library was located near the main hall of the school. Outsiders were allowed to rent the main hall hence when the hall was in use,the library users could give an account of all that transpired in the hall,what a self deceit?The day I went to lay a complaint to the appropriate authority,I received the shock of my life. The school official while reacting to my 'naive and silly' complaint named a lot of notable people nationally and internationally that had passed through the school. I was sternly warned to go back and apply for a change of course if I was tired of my course. I left more confused than I was before coming. I was consoled by the description of Nigerians by our legendary Fela Kuti as people known for 'suffering and smiling' or else how would people in their right senses site a main hall adjacent to the school library.

More so,the different fellowships on campus had booked all the class rooms so that if one wanted to run away from the 'noisy' library,the fellowships would welcome you with their own 'holy' noises in all the classrooms. However,when one decided to run back to the hostel since both the library and classrooms had failed one,haba! the sounds from home theatres and Cd players of your neighbours were enough to set the 'particles' of your brain into motion to either start dancing or look for fun elsewhere .Having seen all this stuff,immediately after my second MBBS examination I secured a house in GRA in Enugu unbeknown to me that the area was the adoration ground of a renowned catholic priest who was holding a Wednesday prayer ministry then.When I discovered that, I decided not to be coming home on Wednesdays .I heard recently that the ministry has been relocated from GRA to a suburban commuñity of Enugu and the vigil service is now on Fridays.

Please,can't we have noiseless zones in this country? The same thing i experienced as a student in Enugu is still happening in Port Harcourt nowadays and I know that is how it is all over the country.How do we intend to succeed in this part of the world when we are not giving the right environment to develop our brains?At times each floor of a four storey building will be occupied by different churches and their services may clash such that the sounds that will be emanating from their loud speakers can cause destructive interference (thanks to physicists).The annoying aspect of all this is that when one rises to fight this nuisance,the religious houses will dub one an agent of darkness even when the pastors are progressively turning into 'pastorpreneurs' while atrocious sexual immorality is ravaging their members whereas the imams are busy convincing their gullible members to embark on jihad even when their own children are studying in the choicest schools in the world waiting to grab the most lucrative jobs with their fathers' connections. What a modern colonialism?

I call on our governments,which I doubt if they exist, to enact laws that will regulate the noisy activities of these religious houses. The way we have industrial estates,that will be the way we will have religious estates. Residential areas must be strictly residential in the real sense of it.If one runs away to the hotels to avoid the noise pollution,some churches have taken over the main halls in many hotels. I know some people will tell me that our current situation in the country is in line with the biblical injunction of getting the gospel to the utmost parts of the earth but we should still remember that many of the letters saint Paul wrote in the bible where written when he was incarcerated in a supposed noiseless zone even John,the beloved, was able to write the book of Revelation in the Island of Patmos,a supposed noiseless zone. Alsob ,our religious leaders should tell us how their experiences were like all the time they visited London and other saner climes for their holidays.Also,even in the middle east where both Christianity and Islam originated,do they have the type of noise pollution we have in this country?

The most annoying aspect of our present government is that if a moslem governor starts regulating this noise pollution ,the opposition political party will score a weak political point by telling us that the governor is carrying out a moslem agenda and the reverse is the case if a christian governor wants to rid our state of this noise pollution. This is because the former governor of Imo state is now regretting that if he had known he would not have banned 'okada' riding in the state;demolished shanties and unapproved roadside stalls built in the state capital etc.The type of opposition we have in Nigeria today is that if a governor wants to deal with teachers that forged certificates and dates of birth to secure teaching jobs,the opposition will go and join forces with the teachers and their relatives/sympathisers to vote out the government from power.

Meanwhile,Some churches have a vision of establishing their churches in every one kilometer hence all residential areas will soon be infiltrated .My question is why place loud speakers outside the church building when all the members of your church cannot fill up the spaces inside your church and there are no spillover of your members outside the church building?Why pray with loud speakers,has any research been carried out to show that God answers prayers faster with loud speakers?What happened to Jesus' injunction to us to always go into a closet whenever we want to pray?One funny thing is that these religious leaders who carry out vigil services sleep during the day while their gullible members are busy in their respective working places and when their members are meant to sleep in accordance with the law of nature,they are forced to forfeit their sleep or be dubbed 'possessed ' by the evil spirit.My only concern is that our ministries of environment must rise up to this noise pollution now or never.Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living,how then do we intend examining our life in the midst of our present noisy environment.

Dr Paul John
[email protected]
Port Harcourt ,
Rivers state.

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Articles by Paul John