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Hello Night Vigil, Goodbye Restful Sleep!



Last night was quite literally the worst night I’ve ever had in my rather short life. No, that’s a lie. The actual worst night of my life so far happened when I was 13, after a day when I was foolhardy enough to watch The Poltergeist, The Exorcist and God Bless The Child within a few hours of each other. All of those movies feature the sort of demonic activity that is often the exclusive right of the very cute, very young and impossibly innocent in film. At 13, I thought myself to be the cutest, most innocent thing in all the world. Pictures of the time show me that I was deluded. The teenage years were severely unkind.

My body didn’t make sense and it is ridiculously difficult to be cute with braces, glasses and no front teeth (I lost those when I was 7). Come nightfall, I was convinced that I would be visited by a demonic hoard so evil that I would find myself transformed into a vivid green projectile vomiting, self mutilating, television confined gremlin of epic proportions. I, Afam, cried, “MUMMY!” in a dormitory filled with 16 boys between the ages of 11 and 17. I never lived that down.

Last night, as I lay my head down on my impossibly thin pillow to sleep, I found that I couldn’t because of a night vigil/rehearsal session at a Redeemed Church across the road. If it had been from any other building in the neighbourhood, I would have stormed down there in my jalabia and yelled myself hoarse. I don’t joke with my sleep. My boss expects me to be like the energiser bunny for at least 12 hours and this isn’t possible without a good 8 hours of sleep. As this was a church I couldn’t. If I did that, I’d probably have been accused of interrupting the work of God or being possessed by a legion, for only one infiltrated by an army of Spirits would dare attempt to stop a service in motion, and it wouldn’t have ended there, they would probably have forcefully exorcised me or given me the slap of divine providence usually reserved for young girls who claim to be witches for Jesus Christ.

Even though I could, I won’t launch into an informative journalistic piece that decries the “more church than people” society I’ve found myself in. I’m far too tired for that. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that.

It is a little curious that churches could be so unChristianly in their activities, but Lagos brings all paradoxes to life so I’m not surprised. What do you think I should do? What would you do?

Photo Credit:
Afam is the 22 year old man-child behind the blog: The Ramblings of a Madman. He’s also the lifestyle and health editor of Voix Magazine. He is currently getting ready to start his Youth Corp. Long live Batch C! Follow him on Twitter @Afam20


  1. Bleed blue

    August 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    LOL! Afam oooh! Fear will not gree me say anything to them
    for the same reasons you’ve stated. I will just stay in my bed and
    ask the same God they’re serving to please grant me the ability to
    sleep soundly in the midst of all the din going on. As Ofili said,
    in Naija, our default position is to “Leave it to God”…abi

    • Blossom

      August 30, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      ‘Night Vigil’ though?

    • Jade

      August 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      Dear author, this is your hint to change to ‘vigil’

  2. Iphie

    August 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    lol. . .what can one do really?

  3. SpecialK!

    August 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    There really need to start being some residential area and non residential area mappings so religious insititutes can operate… lack of town planning lofa – people buy land construct what they want etc…

  4. xoxo

    August 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I can so relate with this. There is a church right next to my house. Its not just the noise they disturb with, the way they pack is very annoying too. Its difficult even entering my house when they have programs. The nights they have vigils, we do it together. Something needs to be done about this noise from religious activities abeg.

  5. Fashionista

    August 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Men, I used to share a fence with a Redeemed Church, it wasn’t fun!

  6. isaid!!

    August 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Well,in my own neighborhood,something similar happened. there is a school building that “worshipers”hire for their weekly prayer meetings weekdays in the evenings. there is always night vigil once a month. usually whenever they keep me awake,i just try to pray along with them quietly in my bed trying also not to disturb my husband who can sleep through a hurricane. But i had to put my foot down and confront the proprietor of the school when weekday prayers,monthly vigils wasn’t enough and they also included very loud musical instruments. You couldn’t hear anything in the TV or radio in your home. In fact we almost couldn’t even talk to ourselves without shouting!! That was when i told the proprietor that i would report to the authorities if nothing was done about the noise.He understood and told the “church group” that they had to relocate as his neighbors had started complaining. Thankfully they found another venue and moved out. Now its only the monthly vigils which is ok since its not daily. I would advice the writer to see the elders in the church. something might be worked out to suit everybody. Sorry for the long essay.

  7. if to say na just me...

    August 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Here i am saying a little prayer to God that this church next to my house does not hold a vigil this night…as I am this close to running over there to yell if they do,at the risk of having them exorcise me or deal me that slap…today is month end and i already see myself working really late,and what I would really long for is a restful night…i encounter this problem several fridays and the parking issue xoxo mentioned too,i mean does the fact that we are christians mean we should not see that we are parking right in front of somoenes door?and the pretty annoying thing about this redeemed parish next to me is that they are still quite small o,i went there to talk(or more like shout)one day a member blocked my entrance,and I was so dismayed to see they had only like 10 members,most likely,the pastor,his family and maybe the assistant pastors family too…so why on earth do they need a mega phone abi loud speakers when they are holding a vigil,what could be wrong with them just having their vigil alone and not harrassing us with the screams from their megaphone!!!why must 10 or so inconsiderate people just decide to have us hold compulsory vigils with them and get away with it?We naija peeps ehn,we too dey do joor….btw,I am a very good beleiver in Christ!

  8. Amaka

    August 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    LMAO….Afam you just have to endure.
    I served in Abeokuta last year, and my house was just beside a Celestial Church;which was just by a river. With all the ungodly practices, fights, loud prayers etc. You can’t imagine!lol Of course, I couldn’t confront them about all that…I just watched and prayed and i survived; thanks be to God! 🙂

  9. Ore

    August 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I may be trashed for this but I don’t care. I think I’ve frankly had enough of the Christian and Church bashing this past weeks on Bella Naija. Wetin? Are we the only religion out there? (even though Christianity is not a religion but a relationship, this is just for argument purposes) What about the mosques that wake you up at 5 am in the morning? Or the traditionalists that perform rituals or carry sacrifices at night? I admit that sometimes there are excesses and they can be curbed but generalizing and saying churches could be so “unchristianly” is just plain low.

    • Nice one

      August 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm


    • Ms Catwalq

      August 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      My dear Ore,
      Whether it is a mosque or a church, once your activities constitute a nuisance, they need to stop. The fact is that Mosques do theirs in the early hours of the morning and in most cases, people use that as an alarm. The churches on the other hand, use their “casting and binding” to rob their neighbours of their sleep.
      It is no different than the Redeemed Camp/MFM camps on Lagos-Ibadan expressway who seem not to care that every month, their congregants constitute a traffic problem. No one wants to say anything because like you, the church will take it as a personal attack on Christians and the work of Christ. And if you are against Christ, clearly you must be working for the “devil” that they are trying to bind. It’s that fear that allows religious organisations to act with impunity. People forget that that by making another’s life miserable, you are just doing the devil’s work…isn’t that ironic. You think that anyone who stays awake is wishing the noisemaker’s well? Your vigil prayers are just being cancelled out by the stressed out young person who needs the sleep so they can go to work the next day without fear of falling asleep behind the steering and possibly killing someone.
      And as for Babalawos working in the night, biko, when have you ever been kept up by juju people going to quietly place their sacrifice at the cross roads?
      Take a moment and look at this issue from an objective point of view. Even if you belong to Redeem (or not)
      The fact is this: in most parts of the country, churches hold night vigils. Most of the night vigils constitute a disturbance to the neighbourhood in which the churches are located. And no one wants to/ feels they can’t do anything about it.

  10. tm

    August 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I was still saying it two days ago that if I had my way, I would tamper with megaphones of the mosque and churches in my area. It is that bad! They will not allow someone to sleep early in the night and they will be d same people that will wake someone up early in the morning. I have no problem with them waking me up during the week days but on Saturdays that I always plan to sleep in, I always imagine going to remove the cables connecting their megaphones and using the cables to beat them out of my area.
    Those people need to respect other people’s needs joor

  11. MoD

    August 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    This reminds me of my teenage years in naija, we didn’t live near a church but the neighbour opposite attended MFM and they would have a monthly vigil in their compound. One night the whole of the street woke up to shouts of ‘ole, ole, ole’ (thief, thief) some people ran out of their houses half naked in a bid to help…. I ran out to the balcony to catch a glimpse of the action only to find out the vigil people were shouting ‘holy, holy, holy’, only they were saying ‘olay, olay, olay’ with a ‘H’ factor!!!! Everyone was so mad that a neigbourhood committee meeting was called the next day. That was the last time the vigil took place!

    • Afam

      August 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Hahaha I laughed so hard at that.

    • Partyrider

      August 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm


    • Que

      July 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaa……..*choking here!!!

  12. MoonLight

    August 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    lol, u are really funny……

  13. Thatgidigirl

    August 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Cele church opposite me, mosque the street behind mine
    ….. Need I say more?

    • Que

      July 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Biko, who did u offend?

  14. dami

    August 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm


  15. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    September 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    one time in the middle of the night, I was jolted awake to the cries of Fire, Fire! Fire! I jumped up looked out of the window, no smoke, looked under the door, no flames, all the while the shouts of Fire intensifying then I heard in Jesus name we pray!
    I just stood there looking like every shade of stupid. My MFM neighbors were having a bloody vigil.

    • Afam

      September 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Haha. That’s hilarious.

  16. Mariaah

    September 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    LOL at all the stories.. I think I must have gotten used to the whole church/mosque thing. Prior to moving to Abuja I had no place of religious worship close to my house in Lagos (we lived in one of those semi-butty areas in Yaba) LOL..

    Then came Abuja.. My house was directly opposite a mosque! LOL.. Then we moved house in 2005 to where still live now, there’s a mosque (Yoruba mosque. Not trying to be tribalistic, NO! But Yoruba Muslims preach! They have vigils and sunday service like church, bazaar/fund-raiser. Cause traffic, make noise and all.) Let’s just say I pray with them (yelz! I read the quran) I listen to their preachings too, in Yoruba (I am a christian) which is quite interesting topics I must say. I am not sure I mind any more 🙂

    Now churches.. Heehee!! From the beginning of my little close to the back (it forms a crescent) a Pentecostal to Cherubim & Seraphim Church. I love the first church cos they sing all those “wassup” gospel jamz LOL then C&S cos of the Yoruba praise and worship they render! HOLY!! I respond to their “Halleluyah! Halleluyah!! Iye Iye!! Eyin Oluwa logo— Ogo!!!)

    Ironically, I have a little Redeem Parish in my yard.. Maa was kind enough to let them use the space. Those ones hadly have vigils though cos the vigils happens in the zonal church down the rd which I attend.

    All together, mo ti gba fun Olorun (All pun intended) 😀 C&S might be having vigil almost every night but when body surrender, na to sleep get me! 🙂

  17. funmi Reese

    July 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Its not easy I tell you. There are days you feel unchristianly and just want to go yell in your loudest voice.

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