Armed robbers numbering about 15 invaded the Christ Apostolic Church in Alagbado, Lagos State, stealing about 40 phones and money estimated at N2m.About 450 members of congregation were engrossed in prayer when they struck.The robbers, who operated for about 20 minutes, were said to have also attempted raping some of the church members before they left the church premises.
A member of the church, who craved anonymity, said some of the members had observed a strange man making phone calls while the vigil was on.
The vigil actually started around 12 midnight. Some of us observed a man who came in around 1.30am. He was seated in the womenβs section. About four persons tried persuading him to change seat, including the pastor, but he refused. So they left him.
I observed him going out several times to make phone calls. At about 2am, I overheard him saying, βstart coming, they are prayingβ. Few minutes later, I heard a gunshot.β
The head usher of the church was said to have been shot at close range, when he tried closing the door against the robbers, who he originally thought were arriving late for the programme.The bullet was said to have shattered the glass at the entrance, and landed on the pulpit.
When the gun men got in, the church members were said to have been ordered to lie face down, while they started ransacking them.One of the church leaders said,
They positioned themselves at the churchβs major entrances. They collected money, phones and recharge cards. They started shouting, βwhere is your pastor?β They took the church offering and wanted to rape some of our women. In the 20 years of my being in the ministry, I have never seen such effrontery before.β
The pastor was said to have sneaked out through the exit and dodged behind a window, where he viewed everything going on.