3 August 2014

Nigeria: Churches Hire Police, OPC Over Insecurity in Lagos

Lagos — For some churches in Lagos, the fear of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group seems to be the beginning of wisdom.

Investigations on Sunday by Daily Independent revealed that most churches in the state, not wanting to be caught off guard have resorted to hiring police and members of the Oodua People's Congress (OPC) to ensure the security of lives and property during worship services.

At the popular The Synagogue Church of All Nations, located at Ikotun area of Lagos, fully armed and stern looking Mobile Police Officers (MOPOL) were seen screening worshippers entering the church premises for worship.

A source at the media section of the church told our correspondent that the screening was crucial to ensure that the Boko Haram terrorists do not invade the church under the guise of worship to cause havoc.

"You see my brother, lots of foreigners and very important personalities do come here for worship and other activities. Therefore, it could spell doom for the church not to ensure they are safe", our source said.

At Fountain of Life Church in Ilupeju, Lagos, some security operatives, wearing T-shits with FSS inscriptions, were seen at the main gate Lagos during service.

They were supported by police officers from Ilupeju police station, who were detailed by the Divisional Police Officer, Gbolahan Mudashiru, to ensure that the church is safe during and after service.

One of the FSS personnel, who identified himself as Lewis boasted on Sunday that with the security personnel on ground, the church is relatively safe during Sunday services.

At the national headquarters of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) in Anthony Village Lagos, checks revealed that the entire place is wired with Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV) monitored at a central office by some police officers and security personnel of the church.

Though there were security guards from a private security company in Lagos on duty, sources however alleged that even with the superb security arrangement in place, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, founder of TREM, does not take chances as he has police and other private security escorts who carry guns.

But, at Christ Apostolic Church, popularly known as Ago Adura in Ile-Epo area of Abule Egba, Lagos, one Akeem, who claims to be member of the Gani Adams faction of the OPC, was seen closely watching people entering the church from the Pipeline end on Sunday.

But a member of the church confessed to our correspondent that there is an arrangement between the police and authorities of the church on security.

His words "during weekly and Sunday services, spy and uniformed police officers from Oke-Odo police division in Ile Epo do come around to the church premises to provide security.

But at Overcomers Church, located at Bolatito Street in Abule Egba, there seems to be discreet in its security activities. When our correspondent passed through the place on Sunday, only two plain clothes security personnel were seen manning the gate of the church.

But Bishop Abiodun Olugbenro, founder of Mountain of Solutions Ministries International in Maryland, Lagos thinks it is only God that could secure his church despite the rampaging activities of Boko Haram.

His words "I do not hire police, OPC or private security guards to secure my church during church service because I still belief the police in Lagos are doing a good job.

But Andrew Babajide (not real name), who is a member of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Yaba, Lagos disagreed with Olugbenro, saying "Yes, God is the ultimate protector, but we must be realistic and make efforts to secure ourselves, during services".

He wondered whether those churches, mosques and Christians as well as Muslims that have been killed so far by suspected terrorists in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other states were more ungodly than those of us in the southern parts of the country.

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