THE GROWING THREAT AGAINST THE CHURCH AND THE OPTION OF SECURING ITS EXISTENCE.
(Securing the Church From Biblical (Perspective).
By Charles Edet Esq
To under estimate the importance of security in any setting is detrimental to life and property. The series of violent crimes including terrorism, insurgency, banditry, kidnap for ransom, possession and proliferation of illegal weapons, armed robbery, unlawful production of vehicle number plates, rape and ritual killings are the bane of insecurity today.
While the government and the security agencies are seemingly, vanelesslly grappling the air, the phenomenal threats are visibly rampaging on our collective security as we are daily exposed to the dangers of death.
Today, in Nigeria the Church, ie Christains are the most vulnerable of this incessant and unholy attacks.
There is no month that passes by that there wunt be any report of a church attacked or the killing of a clergy or the maiming of it members will not be reported in the news. Infact its a daily affair.
Security is a collective business, that strives on mutual cooperation. It is not a one man responsibility. It tentacles are rooted in symbiotism: play your role, I play my role . That is why it is written in Jeremiah 17:5-8 that it is: “A CURSE ON THE MAN WHO RELIES ON HIMSELF ALONE”.
However, there must be cognizance of Gods role and his words, towards a perfect security and monitoring in the Church particularly and other places. This is captured in Psalms 127, where it is written that : “Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain…” that is to state categorically that in every security plans action, we must put God first.
What is Security?
According to the Oxford Dictionary: Security is the state of being free from danger or threat. While Dr Charles Edet of National Detective MGN, averred that: Security is a system designed to provide maximum protection against every form of threats that are Criminally physical.
In every step to secure a worship place, particularly a place such as the church, the security personnel must be sensitive, proactive , agile and alert to discern when danger locks.
Security In worship places entails effective monitoring of peoples movements, engage in scanning persons and their hand bags or any other luggage including polythens with a scanner or focusing intensively eyeball to eyeboll questioning, “ what’s in the bag.”
Effect of Insecurity On The Church
Emerging security challenges in the country has afflicted the church with mortal attacks that grievously affected morale and confidence of the people In attending the church.
Indeed terrorism, banditry and kidnappers have become liabilities and an embarrassment to the government and the people of the nation. The attacks targeted at worship places is not only aimed at decimating the worshipers but with the intentions to unleash fear upon the faithful worshipers and diminish the existence of churches.
The recent press statement issued by the FCT Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), that the Church was amongst the targets of the ISWAP in its Intelligence alert report to the residents of FCT.
Most worshippers has for the reason of the threat, most Christians avoid attending church in order not to fall victim
to the sudden attacks of these vicious terrorists.
These emerging threats has inspired greater strength and inspirations amongst worshipers to counter the viciousness and crafty dastardly acts of these anti-Social elements, to contain and degrade the vicious, clandestine and nocturnal acts of Criminality perpetrated by the so called kidnappers, bandits, and the terrorists.
A reason for which this write up is made to put pen to paper in order to fortify the security architecture of all worship places, particularly the church and its environment.
To Strengthen Security in worship places (increase their and train)
Introduce Tech-driven software-intensive technologies, installation of CCTV and purchase of Scanners
Improve the approach to scanning individuals at the point of entrance and also ensuring that every form of purse contents are viewed by the security.
Strict adherence to searching vehicle boots, to restrict vehicle owners entering the premises of worship with the following:
(a) Gas containers empty or filled.
( b) Containers of fuel , no matter how little.
Ushers must as service goes on walk thru the sitting to keep an eye on every worshiper to detect any disress or threat including to check theft of worshipers valuables by dare- evil criminal.
Security guards must be agile to watch vehicles stopping to drop passengers.
Watch out for strange persons hanging around the place or premises of worship, parambulating like persons without destination. Such persons should be confronted and questioned on how they may be helped.
Constant patrol around the structures of the premises .
Synergizing with the security of nearby worship places to exchange or share intelligence.
Importance of Security Based Technology
Infact,applications of today’s emerging technologies are reducing the factors of the unknown criminals as the recording helps to trace culprits . The emergence of surveillance technologies has introduced new considerations to longstanding security challenges, and propelling new approach to tackling insecurity around the places of worship.
The afformentioned points explores the implications of these security technologies and recommends policy responses:
engaging the security unit;
establishing norms and standards before and during worship service
Soliciting and extending arms of cooperation with members through sensitization.
These reflections will be complete with expert perspectives and analyses of an engaged police officer attached to the security unit. Incase of any incident within the worship arena, including taking it up with the force authorities for appropriate action.
The Biblical Perspective of Security:
Relying so much on personal efforts and achievements in the area of security without a corresponding reliance on the grace of God , means an offense against God.
The Holy Bible, in the book of Jeremiah declared curses on the man who relies on the help of man. He compared him to a shrub planted on wasteland, and on salt, where no plant can grow.
The same situation in the present society where we relegate God to the background, trusting and relying on technologies, people and security institutions that lack foundation in God?
Nigeria’s present security and political predicament is a perfect example of reliance on man made institution and the result just like Jeremiah prophesied is complete disorganisation and near death situation.
Nigerians are besieged by insecurity, criminals and leaders who have no sense of God. Those who rely on their ineptitude and incompetence in administering the affairs of the nation.
Nigeria is blessed with wonderful leaders since independence. Unfortunately, some of them are chant negative antics against general public importance. Some persons around the corridors of power, circumvent public interest with such gigantic disposition to corruption, materialism, violence and abuse of power, those whose “be all and end all” have a foundation in Nigeria’s course of insecurity were Kidnapping, banditry and terrorism has taken tool on all aspects of the People lives, a phenomenon that is engulfing the church, including the mosques, thereby threatening the safety and previledhed existence due to human selfishness.
Jeremiah had foreseen this when he called for prayer with a corresponding work. In the case of Nigeria, the prophet called for attention to both prayer and work- “Laborare et Orare” Both are inseparable and dependent on each other yet the trust in God is paramount . As worshipers work on security, they should also pray for the security of all. That is Laborare (prayer), et Orare (work).
Imperatively, to experience perfect security, untouched by fear, sufferings and vicissitudes of life , life devoid of threats, sorrow and pain. Such secured atmosphere comes with happiness situated in God who is the zenith and summation, the “’terminus ad quem” for all round security based happiness.
Consequently, such longing or intense desire for secured , environment etc comes with trusting God and seeking the face of God, Infact waiting to be rescued by any security agncy when under the siege of the gunmen, means the inividual has voluntarily compromised his/her life.
Security, grants protection and guarantees safety in all its ramifications, it is a blessedness, pronounced on those who live in fear and there existence and property are threatened, and they weep.
Insecurity ? Is It A Result of Sins
It’s important to ask question: are threat enanating from the security situations in Nigeria, the result of the sins of the leaders and of the people? or accumulated individual sins?
According to Die Verbum Gospel Devotion, (DVGD) Happy are you who weep now, this weeping could be described as sorrow for sins committed by all. The Psalmist says, ‘For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in mind. Against you, you alone have I sinned…(Ps. 51: 3-4)’. Such sorrow and detestation for sin is as a result of the realisation that sin causes a rupture in our relationship with God. It is a realisation that sin offends God who is a loving father whose love for his children is boundless. At the confessional Jesus extends his hands in the person of the Priest to absolve and draw us back to full union with God.
Again, our desire to follow the footsteps of Jesus, to be truly his own shall be met with oppositions and persecutions even from the most unexpected places, hence Jesus says, “happy are you when people hate you, drive you out , abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of man”.
It is worthy of note that it is in persecution that we bear witness to Christ. Persecution can also come in different forms since it may not necessarily come from beatings or deaths. Persecutions could be in form of Insecurity, Security threats, increase in Criminality, deprivations, negligence, exclusion from the community, suppression, calumny etc, because of our faith in Jesus Christ. When we are killed, bombed, our churches burnt , clergies killed, abused, denounced or branded all sorts of evil because of Christ, then Jesus expects that we should be happy since we shall be rewarded greatly in heaven.
As the security agencies are working hard to protect the citizenry, the church while engaging in prayers, should not relent in boosting the efforts of its internal security. The implementation of a robust security action plan to protect the church and its members is imperative and critical not only to ensure safety of the members but also it’s infrastructure within the ambit of the church security operatives (guards)
Let me at this point invoke the supremacy of the word of God , which admonished that we be strong, prepared ( vigilant, alert) and armed , as rightly stated in Ephesian 6:10-15;
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc (+), NPM, fdc, while affirming that the kinetic and non-kinetic approaches targeted at re-ordering security in the country are already yielding positive results, reassures citizens of the renewed commitment of the Nigerian Police Force to the fight against crimes and criminality. This calls for a sustained support for the Police and the security of the Citizenry, the Church and the communities at large as the people in general but particularly the Church security make intensified efforts to enhance public safety, peace and security.
National Detective MGN
Die Verbum Gospel Devotion (DVGD)
Nigerian Police Website