…issues 10 days to relocate
October 21, 2019 in City Beats, News Update
Gratuities not taxable, declares Tax Appeal Tribunal
Emma Elekwa, Onitsha
A Chief Magistrate Court in Nnewi, Anambra State presided over by Emekwue AC has sealed off one of the new generation churches in the area over noise pollution.
The church leadership which was sued by the Director of Environmental Health Services and the Nnewi North local government area, was also given ten days for relocation.
In a charge number NMC/10c/2019, the church was prosecuted on two count charges under the public health laws of Anambra state.
The church was accused of mounting amplifier and five loudspeakers in front of its premises, tuned at a very high pitch, leading to heavy noise pollution and restless night within the neighbourhood.
The prosecution described the situation as ‘prejudicial to man’s health’, which is punishable under section 21 of the public health laws of Anambra state 2006.
The church was also accused of failure to comply with terms and requisition of abatement notice referenced No: 00000896 served on it.
The prosecution maintained that the condition was punishable under sections 8(1,4b) and 9(1,2) of the public health laws of Anambra state.
It presented three witnesses who all testified that the church activities, particularly during its vigils held between 11pm to 4am constituted source of noise pollution as well as serious disturbance to an 86 year-old woman.
The President-General of the community who appeared as witness to the defendant, said he was a neighbour to the complainant, adding that the church activities did not disturb anybody.
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Delivering judgement on the matter, Emekwue AC directed the Director of environmental health services and Nnewi North Local Government Area to seal off the church and stop the defendant from continuing church activities in the facility.
The court also directed the defendant to relocate the church within 10 days or face one-year jail term without option of fine.
A resident of the area who witnessed the sealing off of the church, but preferred anonymity, described the court ruling as long awaited.
He said, “It is a thing of joy that the court has finally come to the rescue of the people who have not known peace since the church was opened in their neighbourhood.
“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 well being of the people has always been misunderstood.
“They always tag those of us who are complaining as being occults.”