Hoodlums attack churches in Delta, cart away offerings, musical equipment
No fewer than 16 churches in Delta State metropolis have been attacked by armed robbers who disguised as worshippers to gain access, carting away offerings and musical equipment during service.
At every Sunday in Asaba, Ibusa, Okpanam, Ughelli and its environs, there are hues and cries of frequent robbery attacks by the armed hoodlums on churches, particularly those with large crowd of worshippers.
Investigations showed that many of the churches in Asaba and its environs were raided by the hoodlums who operate with sophisticated guns and vehicles without plate numbers, particularly on their worshipping days when they are expected to be filled to the brim.
Police Commissioner Zanna Ibrahim said that the force was striving to bring the hoodlums to book. He disclosed that over 16 suspected armed robbers who specialised in attacking churches were last week arrested.
It was gathered that the robbers’ modus operandi was to disguise as worshippers during church services as they monitor donations/offerings of their targets churches before they strike.
One of the pastors who spoke with The Guardian, Pastor Dam Ngozi Iyio of the Great Gospel Ministry said: “With these attacks on churches, members are not left out as many Christians have lost their cars in church premises while worshipping. Many cars have been snatched or stolen from church compounds in Asaba and other parts of the country.”
Pastor Blossom, who resides in the area, said they noticed some funny movements and the sound of a car at an odd time at night of the fateful day, which attracted his attention and that of others.
He said they flashed torchlights towards the hoodlums and thereafter raised an alarm. The robbers, realising that people are aware of their intention, escaped.
Another cleric, Pastor Andrew Ozobeme of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Asaba, said that incessant attacks on churches by hoodlums are currently assuming an alarming dimension.
He said that robbers have of recent attacked different branches of the church and stole musical equipment, including the church offerings.
According to him: “This attack is happening every day, we are afraid it will degenerate more than this as many churches have lost their musical equipment to these hoodlums.
“You close from church today, even very late, the next morning, you will be surprised that robbers have broken into the church and removed all valuables.”
In the same vein, Pastor Bethel Onuoha of Potters’ Ark Assembly said it is a shame for robbers to take the church as a target for their criminal acts. He said that though his church has not been attacked by these agents of the devil, it is a condemnable act, and called on those behind the ugly act to stop or be ready to face the wrath of God.
Also, Pastor Dan Ohanugor of The Great Gospel Ministries said that his church has, of recent, been broken into about twice and musical equipment removed, adding that God Almighty will expose them to death.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, has assured members of the public and church members of adequate security, adding that the police would continue to carry out 24 hours patrol of all cities daily.
He said: “All of us must be security conscious; we must report happenings in our areas promptly to the police to serve the public better,” he said.