Churches across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, witnessed a low turnout of its members during this Sunday’s services.
Even though many churches observed their normal Sunday services, majority of members were absent over fear terrorists attack.
Recall that Abuja has recently come under heavy attacks by suspected terrorists and bandits. In a spate of one week, the presidential guard brigades at the Tasha-Bwari road were attacked, leading to the death of some top military personnel including a captain and a Lieutenant Colonel.
Only a few days after the Bwari attack, terrorists launched another attack on the guard brigades stationed along the Niger-Abuja road, near the Zuma Rock, throwing the entire city into another fear.
Prior to the attacks, intelligence has it that worship centers including churches and mosques were being marked for attack by suspected terrorists.
Recall that a Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State was attacked recently, leading to the death of many worshippers.
Following the rising tension in the nation’s capital, AFRIPOST, took a trip to most of the churches between Friday and Sunday to check the level of security and attendance by church members.
Though most of the churches visited have reviewed their security and have commenced stop and search at the entrance of their churches, these were only handled by local security hired by the individual churches.
At the Christ the King Parish, Kunbwa, our correspondent was granted access to the church, but that was not without a search of his car. The parking lot which used to be very close to the church building has been shifted backward, and barricades have been placed to block people from parking near the church building.
When our correspondent asked a security man on duty why the park was moved, he simply said, “ Difficult times require urgent measures.”
Also, at the St. Matthews Parish in Ushafa, Bwari Area Council, some serious security measures were also noticed. However, members’ attendance on Sunday was relatively poor. When asked, a member told AFRIPOST that the security situation in Abuja, especially within and around the Bwari area council was a source of worry, and that people were not ready to risk it by coming to church.
Another member, however, blamed those who did not come to church for lacking in faith. He said: “Why should I stay at home simply because there are terrorists? Are they more powerful than God? What will happen will happen even if I stay at home. Our brothers and sisters who did not come to church over the fear of insecurity have little or no faith.”
At the Pope John Paul the second parish, also known as Papal’s ground, attendance was also low despite some serious security checks put in place to protect members and the church against any form of invasion.
Other churches in Kagini, Gwarinpa, Zuba and Dei-dei visited by our correspondent also witnessed a low turnout of members, also with the same reason of insecurity in Abuja.