The Noise Control Department of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), has commended the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei, for causing the arrest of a pastor for allegedly making excessive noise, stating that his action does not contravene the laws.
According to the Department, the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (ACT 30), empowers citizens to cause the arrest of persons who commit an offence.
[contextly_sidebar id=”l2nzjHd7qIVn92b6CoTc7Xce3vk0fU30″]The Department’s defence of the Minister comes after he stormed the House of Bethel Ministry’s Watch Night Service on Saturday, and ordered police officers to arrest its Head Pastor’s arrest, claiming that the church was making ‘too much noise’.
The pastor was picked up around 12:30am, and granted bail at about 8:00am the same day, but it is unclear what offense he was charged with, since it is unclear whether the noise level was measured before the Minister’s action, which has been condemned by many as mere show of power, whereas others have commended him.
The Department said that although efforts are being made to clamp down on persons who make noise and disturb public peace, inadequate logistics and a small workforce significantly limits their ability to execute their mandate fully.
The Metro Noise Control Officer, Edmund Kombal, who spoke to Citi News, called on residents in the metropolis to take a cue from the Minister’s action, and lawfully stop people who disturb their peace.
“You want to say the Minister has committed an offence or he has violated the law. I don’t know whether you have [spoken] with him or not. We have got a law in Ghana that if someone is committing an offence, a citizen can cause his arrest, and he [the Minister] might be using that law,” he said.
“We are doing our best. It’s only that our number is limited and our vehicle is so rickety that when you move out the first day, the second day it is broken down, and it takes us days to put it back on track”.
He said the Minister’s actions serve as a warning to churches and other individuals or groups that fail to comply with laws regulating noise levels in the country.
Investigations ongoing, police refuse comment
The KNUST police have said they are still investigating the matter, although they are still withholding the church’s sound systems, whilst the pastor has since been granted bail.
Some residents who live very close to the Church expressed their displeasure with the noise levels, and called for it to be reduced to enable them go about their usual activities without any distractions and disturbances.
One of the residents told Citi News that “Frankly speaking, we can’t prevent people from worshiping, but they should always reduce the noise for us. We find it very difficult to sleep at night because of the noise. Those who operate the instruments at the church must always ensure that the noise levels are reduced. Whenever they have a watch night service, I am unable to sleep because of the noise”.
‘Noisy church’ left me no choice – Minister defends pastor’s arrest
The Regional Minister has told Citi News he had no option than to involve the police to disrupt the watch night service of the House of Bethel Ministry, as they were making excessive noise.
According to the Minister, the church, which is about 100 metres from his private home, ignored his previous warnings, as they appeared to have increased the noise levels in an act of defiance.
Kumasi church denies making noise; Pastor traumatized by arrest
The Secretary of the House of Bethel Ministry in Kumasi, Stephen Osei, has denied claims by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, that the church was making excessive noise.
Stephen Osei told Citi News, that the Pastor, Reverend Kwame Takyi, who was put behind bars around 2:30am on Saturday, and released at 8:00am same day, is deeply traumatized by the incident.
Unlawful arrest or show of power?
There are concerns the Minister may have acted in an unlawful manner, using his office and privilege as a public officer to intimidate the church. Although there are by-laws on noise making in Ghana, they are mostly not enforced, worsening the situation across the country.
It is however unclear whether the Minister acted appropriately by ordering the arrest of the pastor, considering that in most cases of this nature, complaints are first made at the Assemblies’ departments that deals with such matters, or to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This is because, such noise levels are measured with noise meters by these officials, to determine the permissible and non-permissible levels. And in most of these cases, fines are often slapped on offenders rather than imprisonment terms, except in cases where a convict fails to pay the fine.
By: Hafiz Tijani/Citifmonline.com/Ghana