LAGOS - Authorities in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos have shut down dozens of churches , mosques and hotels in a bid to cut noise pollution, officials said Thursday.

The sprawling city of some 20 million people is notorious for heavy traffic jams and the deafening noise of churches and mosques that use horns and loudspeakers to spread their message.

“It’s true that 70 churches , 20 mosques and 11 hotels, club houses and beer parlours have been shut down across the state,” an official of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), who did not want to be named, told AFP. She said LASEPA boss Rasheed Adebola Shabi ordered the closure after the churches and mosques refused to comply with a government order to reduce noise pollution.

“The affected churches and mosques were directed to remove the horns and loudspeakers placed outside so as not to disturb the public with their activities but they refused,” she said. The official said the government was aiming at a zero-noise level in the next four years.

She added: “We want to ensure that Lagos is noise-free by the year 2020. With our status as a megacity, by year 2020 we will be free of noise”. She said the agency would no longer allow makeshift buildings to be used as places of worship in the state. The govt has restricted blaring of horns and sirens by motorists to reduce noise and pollution in the highly crowded city.