“Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Psalm 127:1
The news broke about two non-members of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Ena-Alimona, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, who tried to bolt away with the church offering but one met his Waterloo as he was lynched, while his acccomplice narrowly escaped into thin air.
This trend is gaining more ground around the country as church offerings and tithes have become the target of thieves and armed robbers.Oftentimes, it is not the issue of the church rat stealing from within, but the strange presence of gun-wielding ruffians storming into the house of God, holding all the worshippers to ransom and carting away the tithes and offerings during the church service.
I recall, many years back when, minutes after the collection of the general offering and thanksgiving in a very big church in lkeja, four armed robbers took over the entrance gate to the church and headed straight to the pastor’s office where the money was about to be counted and escaped with the entire offering, as if they came to collect their own tithe.
The situation is gradually turning into a frequent occurrence in the society, especially these days when churches are springing up everywhere with attendant large congregations that also suggest that offerings and tithes are on the increase not minding the recession in the country. The church is a public place, where different characters congregate with different motives. It is in the church that you find petty thieves and it is also among the congregation that you find car snatchers. I shall endeavor to wade into all these so that church administrators can be better enlightened.
This writer was the chief security officer at Household of God Church, Oregun, lkeja, Lagos, for many years and, by the special grace of God, was able to build a formidable security department in the church. Also, after moving to Abuja, I was a security consultant at the Family Worship Centre, Wuye, before I finally moved to Champions Royal Assembly, Chykakore, Kubwa, Abuja, where, by divine appointment, I was anointed as the deacon in charge of the security department. These years of experience are what I am sharing with my readers, especially Christians.
In every house of God, security cannot be complete without the recognition of the input of the security master himself, because the holy book vividly states that God is very interested in security, that was why he so secured his throne with myriads of angels and arch-angels to the extent that it was rather impossible for one of the angels, Lucifer, to succeed with his planned coup to overthrow the Almighty God. Even after creating the garden of Eden, the holy book disclosed that fierce-looking angels were in charge of its security. Again, a whole tribe was trained in the art of security just to guard and protect the temple of God. So, we are admonished that “as it is in heaven so shall it be on earth.”
Indeed, security is God’s business, so every security personnel should cue into the grace. Robbery in the house of God comes in different forms, while many are self-motivated, others come as a gang. The solo thieves are not easy to apprehend because of their slippery nature so also are the gangs, unless the church security personnel are well-trained for the job. The training of church security is completely different form the regimental training among private security guards.
Church security is both spiritual and laced with wisdom and intelligence. When a thief first enters a church, he tries to acclimatise himself with the environment like a chameleon. Most times, he would not expose any trait of a newcomer to the church. They always look for where ladies are seated, especially those with handbags. All they do is study the lady and peep into her handbag whenever she opens her bag.
They know that ladies cannot spend 10 minute without opening their bag to pick one item or the other and many spread money inside the bag that is visible. Such thieves usually strike once there is a long prayer session or when it is time for offering when members file out to give their offerings. You see him sitting back pretending not having any offering and waiting to strike, after all, offering is not compulsory.
Once his mission is accomplished, like a kite, he moves out immediately, to check out his loot or count his loot. Some visit more than three churches on a Sunday. These thieves are also responsible for the theft of cell phones, which is now very rampant in many churches. In order to arrest such thieves, the church security must always be alert and should be ready to swing into action when a young boy is leaving the church while the service is on.
Such fake members should be thoroughly searched and, if found with a switched off cell phone, such a person should be interrogated and, if found culpable, should be handed over to the police. Some of the thieves are smart and will not leave the church immediately, but would change their seat where the church has a large congregation, or they go to the rest room and spend the rest of the service inside there, claiming of suffering from running stomach.
(To be continued)
That redeployment of officers
The time has come when the lnspector-Generals of Police should execute his policies as they concern the officers and men with the milk of human kindness. It is on record that nobody from the rank of commissioner of police and above has ever proceeded on transfer without adequate provisions in place for their welfare, especially their accommodation.
Recently, lGP Ibrahim ldris woke up from his right side and commendably ordered the redeployment of all area commanders, divisional police officers (DPOs) and inspectors and other ranks operating along all the highways from Zaria through Kaduna to Zuba, in a bid to thoroughly sanitise these areas by demobilising the activities of kidnappers and armed robbers via his pet operational project, “Operation Absolute Sanity” (Don’t know how he coined that).
It would have been better applauded had these “deadwood” area commanders and DPOs been sent back to the training colleges to re-sharpen their security knowledge, instead, what the lGP has succeeded in doing is to recycle them to other cities of the federation so that they can re-apply how they had helped to increase robbery and kidnapping and even encouraged herdsmen. The question as I stated earlier is, what provisions were put in place for the newcomers going to take over these commands? No accommodation, no allowances and no transportation, they are expected to finance all these within their meagre salary. This is not fair and must not be encouraged.
The days when, in the name of transfer, policemen were seen at their new duty posts sleeping inside abandoned vehicles and uncompleted houses like animals must not be encouraged again. No wonder the zeal to fight criminals has died. Policemen are no longer ready to pay the supreme price to protect citizens. The number of policemen living outside the barracks without housing allowances are in the thousands, as if they are no longer the responsibility of the Nigerian government. If they must be transferred, which means dislocation, they must be paid their dislocation allowances. Officers and men of the Nigeria Police are not immune to our present realities, including economic recession.