Over 1, 000 worshippers ran helter-skelter and are still counting their blessings after they survived what would have been a massive bomb attack. The bomb was said to have been placed in the church during their evening service but failed to detonate.
The anti-bomb squad of the police, which defused the bomb yesterday morning, described the bomb as foreign-made and capable of bringing down not only the church but surrounding buildings as well.
When LEADERSHIP visited the church yesterday, a church security man, who gave his name as Moses Uzoka said he discovered the bomb during a routine security sweep of the church. After the evening church service, he said, at about 9:30pm, he noticed a suspicious object in a bag under a seat at the children's section of the church.
He said: "I have never seen a bomb in my life but when I saw the object, it resembled the type of bombs I have seen in movies and I quickly shouted and everybody fled the church. We called one SSS man who lives near the church and he told us it was a bomb."
Uzoka narrated how he and others ran to the security post nearest to the church at "checking point", on the boundary between the FCT and Nasarawa State. He said the security agents insisted that they would not come on the grounds that the area was not within their jurisdiction and referred them to the Abacha police station. He said when they ran to the Abacha Road police station, the personnel there in turn referred them to the Mararaba police division.
"It was between midnight and 1am when the police from Mararaba came. When they saw the bomb they ran back and called their DPO. He too came to see it and went back. Later they brought an anti-bomb squad from Abuja to come and handle the bomb," Uzoka said.
LEADERSHIP learnt that it was later in the morning, about 11am, that an FCT anti-bomb squad arrived at the church to defuse the bomb and take it away.
Uzoka told our correspondent that a member of the anti-bomb squad said it was a foreign-made bomb and bigger than any he had seen since he started working on bombs.
He said: "The leader of the anti-bomb squad was shocked at the size of the bomb. He said that, if the bomb had gone off, not only would it have flattened the church and everything inside it, but that it would have destroyed the surrounding buildings as well.
When they were bringing out the bomb, I saw the inscription engraved on it: it was 'Mountain Fire' or something like that."
A LEADERSHIP reporter, who saw the police bomb squad taking the explosive away at about 11am yesterday, said he could not get very close because the police had cordoned off the church's frontage while they went about defusing the bomb.
A cleric at the church, simply called Evangelist Sunny, praised God for saving the lives of the worshippers.
He said:"When we discovered it, we quickly called Abacha Road police station. They refused to respond at that time. We went further to call Mararaba police station and they now came to the church to help with the situation. They later informed the anti-bomb squad of the FCT command which came later to defuse the said bomb."
When contacted, a senior police officer at the Nyanya police post, who does not want his name in print, confirmed that policemen went to the church but that they only found "some bags with perfumes and other materials".that can collapse the building at once," he said.
The head of the technical unit of the church, Godstime Asuquo, who spoke when newsmen visited the church on Thursday morning, said the FCT anti-bomb squad was contacted immediately to detonate the bomb.
He said it was only the grace of God upon the Church that did not allow the perpetrators of the dastardly act to succeed, adding that the church was planning to engage more security personnel to ensure adequate security in and around the church premises.
The commotion expectedly drew a large crowd to the frontage of the church. A GSM recharge cards seller, who has a kiosk just opposite the church, Linus Agi, said he was afraid to go into the church, though he saw the bomb when the anti-bomb squad brought it out and was taking it away.
"I was still around when it happened. We all ran away at first. Later in the morning, I saw when the police people brought out the bomb and took it away ," Agi said.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the church had been having a week-long revival programme to mark the beginning of a new month and that it was filled to the brim because the members had turned out en masse for the anointing and commune service.
One security man said over 1,000 worshippers attended the service and that it was the biggest church attendance he could remember.
Sometime last year, there was a rumour that the church had been bombed but it turned out to be a false alarm.
When contacted, a senior police officer at the Nyanya police post, who does not want his name in print, confirmed that policemen went to the church but that they only found "some bags with perfumes and other materials".