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Iniobong Umoh: Why Are Nigerians So Noisy?

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Iniobong Umoh: Why Are Nigerians So Noisy?It is difficult living in Nigeria if you are a person who dislikes noise. From my observation, a majority of Nigerians are just noisy and loud. Being noisy is ingrained in our DNA.

You can’t escape the noise in Nigeria, it follows you everywhere you go.
I had an argument with the driver of the bus I boarded last night over the volume of music playing in the bus. I requested that he reduce the volume of music. I was tired and having a headache while Lil’ Kesh was blasting at full volume on the stereo. He was miffed at my suggestion and responded rudely, but I finally got him to turn down the volume.

We have normalized noise in Nigeria, it reflects on our aggressive behaviour. It has a psychological effect on us. Have you noticed that everyone seems to be angry in Nigeria? People flare up at the slightest provocation.
To alight from a commercial vehicle, you either have to shout to the driver or you hit the vehicle before the driver stops for you to alight.

Hanging out at joints, bars, clubs and other public spaces is a nightmare. The music is always at the highest decibel, you have to shout to be heard. People can’t hold normal conversations in such places. It could be amusing watching them sitting at a table shouting at each other.

I can’t count the number of times I have gone to a bar and either had to request for reduction of the volume of the sound system, step up and try to reduce the volume myself or walk out of the place, all because of the unwholesome noise.

Don’t even talk about religion and places of worship…These ones are noise production centers.

Preachers with lousy megaphones waking you at the early hours of the day when sleep is sweetest to you and forcing you to listen to their preaching, call for prayers from mosques with loudspeakers, all night services in residential areas, etc.

While searching for an apartment earlier on this year, I found a nice place I wanted to pay for, but when I got inside the house and opened the back window, I saw a church at the backyard. The signboard revealed it was one of these mushroom prayer outlets that run services 24/7, I almost shouted, “God forbid!” as I quickly exited the premises.

The noise pollution is endless. The cacophony on our streets and roads from people advertising herbal medicines, concoctions and drug supplements using loudspeakers mounted on buses, record shops playing music at loud volume, thugs ands calling out to passengers at loud voices, hawkers advertising their wares at the top of their voices, etc. Total chaos and madness!

People shout at the top of their voices in their homes. You stay in your house and you are forced to listen to a man’s conversation with his wife in their bedroom.

People make phone calls and every everybody around them are forced to listen to the call.

In a bid to escape from noise and concentrate, you go and lounge in a hotel only to realize that the noise in the hotel is on a higher level than the noise you were running away from at home.

The only place(s) that seem to be excluded from the noise are the exclusive neighbourhoods where the rich and elite class live. However, they are not totally free from the scourge because once in a while, the serenity is broken.

I believe most Nigerians can’t live in the western world where noise is prohibited in many public and private places.

We need to maintain a balance between noise and quietude.

A creative person cannot function in a noisy environment. You cannot introspect and reflect in such an environment.

There is no escaping the noise in Nigeria.

Is there a way out? How do you cope with the noise?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Iniobong Umoh is a multi-contextual writer, story teller and brand content creator. He writes with a touch of humour, satire and reality.Email: [email protected] IG: @ini_leroi Twitter: @iniobong_

23 Comments

  1. Adeola

    December 23, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    “ I believe most Nigerians can’t live in the western world where noise is prohibited in many public and private places.

    Funny enough, Nigerians comply, obey rules in western world. We will follow it even more than the people themselves. Nigerians just like dysfunctional, chaotic life, that’s the only way to gain respect, get your point across and even survive.
    If you are calm, and don’t shout, naijas will deem you as weak, mumu and want to easily take advantage of you.
    In the western world, respect is not earned by loudness.

    • omomo

      December 24, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      i concur

  2. BlizJoan

    December 23, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    My problem is the preachers that wake me up from sleep at 5am. Lord give me the strength not to break someone’s head. They increase the volume of the megaphone so loud that i can hear myself inside my house. They do this everyday even on Sunday. When you confront the preachers to reduce the volume they will start casting you as if you are demon or witch. Hmmm

    • Nana

      December 25, 2018 at 4:46 am

      And the daily muslim call to prayer?

  3. Ephi

    December 23, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    You forgot to mention the horns on the road. Lagos is a nightmare when it comes to noise pollution, everything is loud, it’s been a struggle to sleep well. Just really terrible.

    Legislation and enforcement can address some aspects like the places of worship, and even vehicles horning indiscriminately.

  4. Amaka

    December 23, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Why are u going to a club expecting it to be quiet… I don’t understand…

    • Le coco

      December 25, 2018 at 4:57 am

      I was with her until this comment sha

  5. The Real Oma

    December 24, 2018 at 12:12 am

    I was agreeing with you until this line, “I believe most Nigerians can’t live in the western world where noise is prohibited in many public and private places” living in the western world is not a reason Nigerians (or any one else) should do or shouldn’t do anything ?

    • Jamylah

      December 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Thank you. I felt same way too.

  6. Benjamin Osawe

    December 24, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Noise is not in the DNA of Nigerians. Socialization and normalization of noise from infancy to adulthood has resulted in what you have observed. Same Nigerians travel abroad and behave like Roman’s in Rome, like Londoners in London, like Americans in America etc. The socialization in the west shows these Nigerians abroad that speakers have a volume dial and should be on low.

  7. Mary

    December 24, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Hello, madam can you locate a grave yard already, ahhh leave our Nigeria alone

    • Elle

      December 24, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      See them, defending noise, just imagine. Inconsiderate attitude.

    • St Cathy

      December 25, 2018 at 9:42 am

      A large percentage of Nigerians are already afflicted by partial deafness. They can’t hear other people talk in low tones without saying “ehn,ehn, ehn” like a million times. You go to weddings and return home with a headache, thanks to the unhealthy level of chatter and noisy music.
      @the writer, Personally, I stay away from Owambes as much as I can, I only hangout in certain bars where they get it right, especially those ones where you see a lot of white folks,the music and ambience is always mellow. Even my church I chose with care(thankfully I’m catholic and we don’t do noisy worship)

      This noise pollution is a problem that needs to be addressed and not left alone. How can it be the way of life of a people? It’s way too unhealthy.

    • Ephi

      December 25, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      There is a lot of “noisy worship” in the Bible, just read the Psalms. However, noisy worship does not mean being inconsiderate to neighbours / others.

    • Marvel

      December 25, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Mary, Iniobong is not ‘Madam’ o. You didn’t read as usual. Typical ignorant type he is referring to. Talk, talk and talk. He should locate your tomb at a graveyard? Why not at a library? Nasty, defensive creature!

  8. Cath

    December 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    And you forgot to mention generator noise!

    • ProudNigerian

      December 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      So generator noise is whose fault exactly?

  9. Liz

    December 24, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    The author’s frustation is palpable ??
    Talking about living close to a church, I have nothing to complain about the Jehovah’s Witnesses hall. For all people have against them, at least give it to them that they do not contribute to noise pollution.

  10. Nana

    December 25, 2018 at 4:48 am

    These things are not a Nigeria thing. They are unique to certain cities

    • Anon

      December 25, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      Thank you. The generalisation is a tad much.

  11. Chai

    December 25, 2018 at 8:12 am

    He’s definitely talking bout lagos.

    The eastern parts of Naij eg Anambra, Imo, Abia, Calabar and Akwa Ibom detest noise.

    When u make noise for anything out there, you lose your respect on the spot

  12. Dora

    December 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    I agree that Nigerians are very noisy and loud. But I particularly find the Yoruba extremely LOUD!!! I live abroad and I just hosted a Yoruba friend and his white wife only yesterday and he couldn’t but scream the house down! Every Yoruba gathering I have ever been to, the noise is on another level. In fact I normally need paracetamol to just calm my pounding head down. Phewww. Is it just me?

  13. Gee

    December 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    This article is interesting…When i first came to Canada, my husband and i had plans the next day to go early for SIN registration, he asked me to set an alarm because it got dark at 4.30 pm and by 7am, it was still dark outside..he didn’t want us to be late. I said: don’t worry, i will wake up the second time they call for prayers…he said when who call for prayers? i said the Muslims naa…abi no mosque here. He laughed for over three minutes with tears coming out of his eyes. He said NO, there are no mosques here, even if there are, they are not allowed to mount speakers or even pollute the environment with noise, if they do, they will be fined. Same thing with churches, clubs, sit-outs etc. And trust me, no one wants to be fined…it’s always a steep amount. As time went on, i came to the realization that Nigeria is just filled up with noise, and perhaps that’s part of why people fell sick. One cannot think, or even listen to themselves think, it causes headaches, anger and aggression. Indeed, the writer has ample experience with this (i guess every Nigerian does). We just get used to it because we are powerless to do anything about it. How do you tell your neighbor that their “i pass my neighbor generator set is making you sick? (just imagine their reply…), or the local mosque imam that the call to prayer wakes up your baby that you just manage to put down a few minutes to 5am? (and that is assuming it’s only 1 mosque in your area), or the new generation church that gathers within earshot for group morning prayers starting with praises (using drums, trumpets, etc.)…i could go on and on. Naija ehh…smh!

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