Operatives of the Lagos State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have arrested six suspected armed robbers who allegedly raided Christ Authority and Power Evangelical Ministries (CAPEM) in Ijanikin area of the state on New Year eve.
The robbers were alleged to have collected the tithes of the church and still robbed the worshipers who attended the crossover night service.
One of the suspects, simply identified as 0soja, told Daily Sun that one Baba Usman masterminded the robbery.
Giving a graphic account of how the gang carried out the evil act, he said: “We were eight in number that invaded the church. We were armed with five guns, which we bought in Cotonou. We were all members of a cult group. But one day, after robbing some girls, who were going for Christmas party, Usman said he was tired of going for small money. He then said we should target a big church that we would rob on New Year eve. He discovered CAPEM at Vespa area of Ijanikin on Badagry Expressway, we investigated and discovered that the church has big congregation.
“On the fateful day which was on December 31, some of us entered the church and pretended to be members, while some laid ambush at the gate. During the offering and tithes time, we waited till one of the pastors announced that everybody should stand up for offering and tithes, it was at that juncture, we brought out our guns and threatened to shoot anyone who would not stand up to give his or her tithes and offering.
“Usman seized the micro phone from the pastor and announced to members that they must not mess up. The congregation did not take our threat as a joke as they respected our orders and gave out their offering and tithes in full.
“We collected the offering box and robbed the church members one after the other before we took off. I think, it was the prayer of the church that found us out because we have participated in six robberies in the area and we were successful. But after the church robbery, we forgot two of our guns in one of the houses that we robbed. Two of us later went for the guns and some street urchins arrested them and handed them over to the police.
“You see, I don’t know why I followed them to rob the house of God. I messed up because if I had not joined the cult group, I would not have met Usman, who put me in this mess.
“I regret my action because I robbed God. Even though I am a Muslim, I am very sorry that I robbed Christians.”
Lagos State Police Spokesman, Ngozi Braide, who paraded the suspects at the state police command in Ikeja, said when the two suspects were handed over to the police, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Manko, ordered the officer-in-charge of SARS, Mr. Abba Kyari, to arrest other members of the gang.
Braide said SARS operatives picked four other members of the gang, adding that two locally made pistols, 50 live cartridges and military camouflage were recovered from the suspects.