By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos — Lagos State Government has shut the Headquarters of the Lord’s Chosen and Charismatic Revival Church at Ijesha, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, over alleged gross environmental abuse and erection of structures on Odo Asimawu Drainage Channel, System 6c.
The government said the church would only be re-opened if certain conditions handed down to the authorities of the church were met.
It was gathered the government officials led by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, had earlier visited the church between Sunday and Monday for inspection where the church authorites were said to have been given notice of impending action.
During the inspection, the Commissioner was said to have discovered, among others, massive illegal trading under the Ijesha fly-over on the expressway and large-scale environmental degradation from the activities of the traders close to the church.
The church through its Public Relations Officer, PRO, Mr. Chidi Louis, confirmed the closure and said efforts were being made to meet the conditions set by the government.
Giving reasons for the shut- down, Bello said “inspection round the premises revealed that the church does not dispose solid waste generated properly, while as a matter of fact, it openly burns waste generated inside the church premises, thereby exposing the lives of its worshipers to serious health hazard.
“A further investigation also revealed that a substantial part of the one-kilometre church auditorium was built on the Odo Asimawu drainage channel, thereby impeding the flow of storm water, as well as inhibiting effective performance of the channel.
“It was also discovered that the church built all its toilets on the canal and deliberately discharged the raw human waste into the canal.
“The church does not have proper sanitary system and they discharged their wastes into the canal. Most of their members trade on the expressway and we do not want that,” the Commissioner said.
According to the Commissioner, to prevent an outbreak of epidemic, as well as protect the lives of its worshippers and environs, the government was left with no option but to seal up the church.
While commending the cooperation and non resistance of the church authorities, the commissioner observed their willingness to comply, but stated that the state government would only unseal the auditorium until all the environmental nuisances were abated