From Fred Itua, Fred Ezeh, Adanna Nnamani and Okwe Obi, Abuja
There was security beef-up and low turn out of worshippers in many churches in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, following terror alerts by the US, UK and other countries.
At the Church of Christ in Kado, Daily Sun observed many empty seats and a member of the church, Ogaga Aremu, said it was unusually scanty. He attributed the low turnout to the security threat in the city. “Although there is a strong presence of police and DSS, the church is not as full as usual. We were also sensitised on precautionary measures to stay safe,” he said.
The Dunamis Glory Dome along the Airport Road did not have a full house either.
A member, Idris Amoo, confirmed that that the service was not a full one at all.
The Assemblies of God Church in Bassa Village, Airport Road, also had a low turn out.
“We take attendance and you can tell that many people did not come to church. I think it’s due to fear of insecurity. We have posted some people to guard the church premises and search everyone before they go in,” Gift Adah said.
At the Living Church Church, Goshen, all vehicles were subjected to strict security checks with the aid of other technological devices procured to ensure all round security and surveillance of the church premises and worshippers.
Some residents confirmed that they did not attend service because they were not sure of their safety and security.
Ekene Anyanwu, who worships at a Catholic Church in Nyanya, said he was not convinced to attend Mass and other places of public convergence, at least for now, pending when security issues in Abuja were resolved.
He said: “This past week has been terrific. US Embassy and other embassies in Abuja were dropping updates regarding planned terror attack, and you expect me to take it lightly. I won’t because US and other western countries have strong intelligence system. It’ll be unwise to disregard their warnings.”
On the contrary, Mr. Enoch Idongesit, who worships at Christ Apostolic Church, Garki, said he braved all odds to attend service because the pastor assured that security team had taken precautionary measures to ensure safety of all worshippers.
“I could see people who are afraid in the church. Everyone was being careful and suspicious of the next person. But the Pastor had to lift our spirit with the Word of God and assured us that God neither sleeps nor slumber, and He will guide and protect His people.”
At St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, Jikwoyi, vehicles were not allowed close to the building, and worshippers were subjected to strict security checks before being allowed into the premises.
Within the past week, a private security operative at Catholic Church, Area 3, Abuja, (name withheld) said himself and other colleagues have been briefed on new approaches and other things to look out for in the cause of their work. We were told of this new threat and what to do to protect ourselves and people around us in case of any eventuality,” he said.
Daily Sun discovered that other worship centres along Lokogoma axis closed earlier than usual.
A member of The Throne Room of the Redeem Christian Church, located at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, noted that ministers adopted online service.
“These are precarious times. We need to be careful. The members and ministers decided that we should do online service. It is a welcome development.
“We need to stay safe. We took the terror alert seriously because it is coming from the United States,” she said.
A member of a Protestant church, Mary Audu, said she did not attend church service, as a precautionary measures.
“What happened in a Catholic Church in Madalla, Zuba, is still fresh in my mind. I prayed at home. Until another statement is released informing us of safety, I will be praying at home.”
However, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Dogongada, was filled with members and two masses held as usual.
A member of the Church, Christian Ibokwe, said the safety of man was in the hands of God.
“There is nothing to fear. The safety of everybody is in the hands of God. Besides, what will bring terrorists to a village like ours? But we pray for God’s intervention.”