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Robbers Raid Church, Make Away with N.5m

Posted by By Eugene Agha on 2004/08/22 | Views: 1121 |

Robbers Raid Church, Make Away with N.5m


Not even the sacredness of the place was respected by the robbers. At about 3am on Sunday, August 14, the dare devil robbers stormed the Chapel of Glory International Church, Okota, Lagos, broke into the place, pieced the Church's safe and made away with about half a million naira in it.

Not even the sacredness of the place was respected by the robbers. At about 3am on Sunday, August 14, the dare devil robbers stormed the Chapel of Glory International Church, Okota, Lagos, broke into the place, pieced the Church's safe and made away with about half a million naira in it.

The robbers also virtually left the Church in ruins, destroying many of its property.

Recounting their ordeal recently, the Church's General Overseer, Sam Aiyedogbon, said at about 3am on Sunday, August 14, the hoodlums invaded the Church premises, rounded up the security men on duty and about eight other people who passed the night in the Church.

The robbers, he said, gained entry into the Church premises by scaling the walls into the Church after many of those around had gone to sleep.

According to him, the bandits tied the hands of everybody around after ordering them to lie down face down at gun point.

Having tied the hands of all in the Church with a wire they found in the premises, the gang, he said, demanded to know where the pastor's office was.

''I was made to understand that amidst the confusion that ensued and fear for their lives by the Church members, none of them could utter a world.

The gang was, however, said, to have headed upstairs and made straight for my office,'' Aiyedogbon stated.

The gang, who, he said, were armed with dangerous weapons, ranging from guns, machetes, axes and sledge hammers, broke into all the Church's offices.

However, the gang, who were determined to go away with any money they could lay their hands on, according to the pastor, became disappointed when they finally broke into the pastor's officer since the General Overseer do not allow money to be kept in his custody and met no money there.

''Tables, chairs and all the file cabinets in my office were turned upside down in search of money , but they could find nothing to their disappointment,'' he added.

But not done yet, Aiyedogbon said they continue ravaging office to office until they smashed their way into the office of the Finance Director, where they discovered the Church's safe, ripped it open with an axe probably after several hours of trying to get it broken and made away with about N500, 000 meant for some construction withdrawn from the bank to pay some of the contractors but could not be paid before the close of service the previous Friday.
While the operation was on, a member of the Church, who was not seen by the gang, having gone to sleep inside the children's Church before the gang's arrival, was said to have heard the loud noise being made by the constant hammering on the safe by the hoodlums and went into hiding so that he was not seen by the bandits and got killed. "From where he was hiding, the young man said he saw the gang members and was able to recognise one of them, who turned out to be one of the boys staying around the area,'' he added. Between 5.30 - 6.00 am after the gang had left with their loot, Aiyegbon said the young man came out from his hiding place and started to untie the security guards, who later went round with him to untie Church members before they got the pastor on his mobile phone. ''They recounted their ordeal to me and I asked them to remain calm, that I will ensure that those behind the robbery were all brought to book,'' he said.

When the pastor got to the Church, an emergency meeting of the Church's authorities was called and it was decided at that meeting that the matter was reported to the police to deter a repeat attack on the Church and members. Before then, the young man, who claimed to have identified a member of the gang, had informed the Church elders of whom he saw and recognised among the gang. "Since the matter had already been reported at the police station, some members of the church ran to the station to inform them of the revelation, but the police later came to pick up the boy , stating that they were out to carry out a detailed investigation of the matter,'' he stated.

Although Aiyedogbon pra-ised the efforts of the police at Okota, he expressed fear for the life of members of the Church, realising that the area was notorious for being a hide out for hoodlums. While officials of the Okota station declined comments on the matter, a source at the station told City Diary that in an attempt to get the alleged spotted robber off the hook, one of his elder sisters was arguing that his case may have been a mistaken identity.

The sister, the source said, was alleging that one of their neighbours has the same looks as her younger brother and that it could very well be that it was that neighbour of theirs that was involved in the crime. Following that claim, the the neighbour was said to have been picked up also by the police at the instance of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO ). During the interrogation, it was said to have been discovered that the man in question had a means of livelihood while the boy earlier indicted had none.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.