Man electrocuted while robbing church

Detectives attached to the Homicide Section, Lagos State Police Command, have started investigating the identity of a man, who burgled a church and died in the process at the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
The deceased was said to have burgled Glorious Voice of God Church, located at Shote area of Ijede, Ikorodu, to steal musical instruments and electrical wires.

He had successfully stolen the items and was already leaving, when he suddenly got to the outer part of the church and decided to help himself to other wires.
He was trying to pull down the wires, when the Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo) suddenly restored power. The man was instantly electrocuted.
Members of the church came in the morning to find his body and stolen items abandoned. Some of the stolen cables were in a black bag.

Our correspondent, who visited the community, heard that it has been under siege of burglars for long.
According to residents, the thieves used to besiege the community especially on Sundays, knowing most shop owners wouldn’t be around. The thieves used to loot shops.
Schools, artisan workshops and churches are not left out of the burglars’ operations.
A welder said that he attempted suicide after his shop was burgled and his tools were stolen three times within a month.
The presiding pastor of Glorious Voice of God Church, Ogah Rodorick, said that it would teach robbers targeting worship centres a lesson.
He said: “The death of the robbery suspect is a lesson to other robbers who are planning to rob God’s house. A thief or armed robber that goes into the house of God to steal or rob has committed a sacrilege!
“I was not in the church on the fateful day of the incident. I was still at home when I received a phone call about 7a.m. from a neighbour, that I should come to the church quickly. He said that someone was in the church with electrical wires. Since my house is far from the church, I had to call my assistant pastor, who lives close to the church, to go and check what was happening. When he got there, he called me back, saying that the matter was serious. He said that I should come myself. When my assistant pastor got to the church, he discovered that the thief had vandalised and removed every cable in the church. While he was trying to remove more cables, he was electrocuted.
“When we moved closer to his body, we discovered that the cable on his chest was still burning. We immediately reported the case to Area ‘N’ Police Command. Policemen later came and then they took my statement. His remains were evacuated and deposited at the mortuary. Police later told me that it was a case of electrocution.”
Rodorick disclosed that the church was just two years old in its present location. He said that he remembered that when the church was moving into the community, he was told that burglars and burglaries were prevalent.
He said: “I have never envisaged that that they would come into the church. I didn’t see what they would want to steal in a church. I never knew that they were a lot to steal in a church.

“When the owner of the land gave us this place to use as our church and worship God, I was told that because we are having a lot of activities, that thieves wouldn’t come close to the church, but the reverse is now the case.
“Since we moved into the church, we have not witnessed any robbery. This is the first time. I believe that the God I serve will continue to expose criminals who are robbing the house of God.”
The assistant Pastor of the church, Mr. Alex Obi, said that he was sleeping when he received a phone call from the presiding pastor to proceed to the church.
He said: “To my surprise, when I got to the church, I saw the man lying on the ground with the stolen cables on his chest. A crowd had gathered. The robber gained access into the church through a portion of the gate that fell during a heavy rainfall. The suspect removed the wire from the band, the coil of a standing fan and put them in a sack. He was trying to remove another wire outside, which channels light into the church, when he was electrocuted.
“It is God that arrested him. This will serve as a lesson to others who are planning to go into robbery. I was told that the suspect was one of the scavengers from the northern part of the country. After we had left the police station, some of his ‘brothers’ came to the church to plead with us to release the body to them for burial.”

A bricklayer, identified simply as Mr. Ashwogbin, was the first to notice the body. He quickly called Rodorick.

Ashwogbin recounted that on the fateful day, while he was in his shop about 7a.m., he decided to make use of the toilet. The toilet was close to the church. It was when Ashwogbin was moving closer to the toilet that he saw the suspect’s body.

He said: “A few hours later, the assistant pastor came and we both moved round the church. We then discovered that the cables in the church had been vandalised by the thief. Police later came to the scene. When I saw him, I couldn’t touch him. Since we have been in this place since 2013, my shop had been robbed thrice and my work tools carted away. Our area is common for robbery. Even with the presence of the vigilantes.
“A plumbing material shop, close to mine, had been robbed several times. Whenever they want to rob the plumbing material shop, they would break in through the fence at the back. I have complained several times to the police, but nothing has been done. The situation got to a stage that I became ashamed of always going to police to report.”
The owner of the plumbing material shop, who identified himself simply as Innocent, said that the robbers erroneously thought that he used to keep money in his shop. Innocent added that his shop had been burgled four times.
He said: “When they burgled my shop the fourth time and didn’t find money, they left a note, threatening that they would never relent in burgling my shop until they have collected their share of my sales. They had not returned since the day they dropped the warning note.
“Each time they broke the fence, we would simply erect it back. I was surprised when I was told that a robber came into the church at the back of my shop. I believe this robbery is as a result of laziness of youths. They don’t want to work; they just want easy money.
“We, residents of Ijede and Gberegbe, are suffering a lot! We don’t have good roads. If policemen want to chase the robbers, there is no way they could do that because every part of the community is in a bad state.”
A welder, Mr. Michael Izeko, whose work tools had been stolen thrice, said that he attempted suicide twice.
Izeko explained that on January 7, when he got to his shop all his work tools had been carted away. According to him, he reported to the police, but two weeks later, his shop was raided again.

He said: “I thought that would be enough. Unfortunately, they came again and took more tools. It was then I decided to commit suicide. There was no way I could get money to buy the tools. I resorted to selling some of my doors at cheaper rates so as to buy other tools. When I calculated everything they took, it ran into millions. I believe the one that died in the church was among those who stole my tools. The robbers are many in our area. They are not ready to work. Since then, I have not recovered. The majority of the robbers are scavengers; police should focus on them.”

A resident, on anonymity, said that a school still under construction was burgled and all the cables removed.
He added: “I’m appealing to the Area Commander and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) to double efforts in getting rid of these people. They are causing a lot of havoc in this community. I believe that it is because this community is located in this remote area, that the police are not putting their best to tackle the burglaries.
“Shops are burgled every day and property taken daily. This present one came to every one of us in the community as a shock because I never believed robbers could enter a church to rob. What eventually happened to the robber was a punishment from God. A message to other people; that whoever is planning such thing, either now or in the future, should desist.”
Comrade Jeremiah Obaji of Church Assemblies of God Church, at Gberigbe area, also narrated how their own church was also burgled.

The musical instruments of the church worth millions of Naira were also carted away by some burglars.

He said: “Our church has been burgled more than eight times. We are even tired of reporting the matter to the police. As I’m speaking with you, we don’t have musical instruments in our church. We are now begging wealthy people to buy for us, because our members are tired of contributing money to buy the instruments. The last time they came to our church was in June. The rate of burglaries in this community is quite alarming!”

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