PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria – Six security personnel of a private outfit responsible for safeguarding Winners Chapel Church, Rivers State Headquarters, have been arrested by local police for allegedly stealing and attempting to sell church property.
The church is located on Kaduna Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt.
The arrest was initiated by PHALGA Security Watch, a local vigilance group, who intercepted the security personnel while transporting iron rods and other church assets to an undisclosed location in D-Line where they were to be sold.
The local vigilantes managed to nab six men involved in the scheme and recovered the stolen items.
Victor Ohaji, Chairman of PHALGA Security Watch, revealed that his group acted upon an intelligence report they received at 1 a.m. on Sunday, August 27, 2023.
“We got a tip-off that the security personnel from the church were transporting these items to an unknown location. We immediately mobilized and followed them to the scene,” Ohaji explained.
On reaching the location, the alleged buyers of the stolen items fled the scene. “The receivers took to their heels as soon as they saw us, but we managed to apprehend six individuals involved in the act,” said Ohaji.
Additionally, Mr. Chigbo, a man in his early 30s, was arrested at around 3 a.m. on Sunday, August 27, 2023, while allegedly vandalizing a truck belonging to the Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA.
The truck was parked in front of another church on Ikoku axis of Ikwerre road.
Chijioke Ani, the truck driver, said he had parked the vehicle after running out of diesel.
“When I returned, the truck’s compartment had been vandalized. I was alerted by local residents about Mr. Chigbo’s arrest, so I went to the Mile 1 Police Division where he’s currently detained,” Ani told journalists on Sunday, August 27, 2023.
Grace Iringe-Koko, a Superintendent of Police and the State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the arrests and stated that investigations were ongoing.
“The security guards had been selling the church’s iron rods for construction work. Their arrest came when they were caught red-handed early Sunday morning by local vigilance group members,” Iringe-Koko disclosed.
The incident has raised questions about the safety and security of religious institutions in Rivers State. It underscores the challenges communities face in ensuring that those entrusted with security responsibilities are reliable.
Investigations into both incidents are continuing, according to police authorities.