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Nigeria, Churches: Should Government Regulate Loud Evangelism?

By Nneka Okumazie

Lots of people find blaring evangelism, or speakers of churches uncomfortable, and many want government regulation.

But Nigeria has a loose policy, generally, for loud sound. There are shops with speakers outside, blaring into the environment. There are other religious worship places with external speakers. Sometimes, during a fast, special service or walks, sound is prominent in early hours.

There are also parties in the environment with loud music. There are generator sounds, some faulty, with cracking frustrating noise. There are hawkers, announcers, promos – pedestrian or vehicular – with speakers, giving headaches. There are hawkers on public transport. There are vehicles that honk in frustration.

Noise can be super uncomfortable. But noise is a small priority discomfort that government permits in Nigeria.

Yes, true churches and evangelists may seek more strategic ways to preach the gospel, maybe faster, maybe spaced out, or in a form that would not seem as trying to discomfort others. But they are permitted to preach.

Sometimes, because of the no-option available, it has to be loud. But anytime a true church, or revival, or evangelist preaches loudly and it seems uncomfortable, it is best to understand that the government already made the environment uncomfortable in several ways.

Nigeria still has no constant electricity. Many live the torture day and night. Sometimes, many complain of the heat on social media. Some complain of the no-contest electricity bills, with no electricity. Transformer failure, for some, is as certain as the sunrise. Some get few hours of electricity. Some are tormented by noisy generators and fumes.

Not that electricity cuts or underdevelopment problems in Nigeria should make excuses for loud evangelism, but seeing how some blame the church, like church – with service, somewhere is the problem. They aren’t.

It is true that in some countries, certain churches on streets are sound proof, or the sound is low enough to not disturb neighbours. It is also true that in some countries, [new Pentecostal] churches are in areas where there are factories, so loud sound is expected around there.

But also in some of those countries, people live near rail lines, with regular train movement noise – and honks. There are also some schools near homes, with playground noise. There are also semi-regular events – like festivals, disturbing the peace.

Absolute tranquillity is often desired. It is possible in select places but no one is immune generally from ambient noise, though it differs from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

In advanced countries, there are many true preachers and evangelists who still preach the gospel in ways possible and permitted – regardless of perception.

In Nigeria, however, there seems to be strange hate for the church of God. But the church already overcame.

Lots of people desire to use their negativity to ruin the hope of others. They also like to say the hope of glory of true Christians is invalid.

But, life is far complex than the most advanced technologies they adore. There are too many shiny objects everyone thinks matters most, but when true hope is slight, life is a vacuum.

Nigeria should find ways to develop. There should be a lot of work and knowledge toward solving major problems, not criticism of church – away from priority problems.

The true church belongs to God and sincere evangelism is service unto God.

[Psalm 25:8, Good and upright [is] the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way.]

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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