The Lagos State Police Command has advised religious centres to embrace the use of technology to further strengthen security on their premises.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Area C Police Command, CSP Idowu Adedeji, gave the advice at a security sensitisation meeting with some Christian clerics on Wednesday in Surulere Local Government Area of the state.
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He said that attacks on churches in recent times had increased at an alarming rate, therefore, churches must consider measures to ensure the safety of worshippers.
“Places of worship have been attacked; pastors and priests have been kidnapped for either ransom or other reasons,” the police boss said.
Adedeji said that among measures to detect criminal elements was the use of surveillance, scanners or metal detector so as to help control access in churches.
“Search worshippers, install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, get scanners to detect people with any dangerous weapons hidden on their bodies.
“Security of lives and property is an expensive business, try and get those gadgets, it may not be 100 per cent but it can minimise the risk. Involve your members in regular church sweeping by going around the compound to check and search for strange objects before the commencement of service.
“Police patrol teams move around every Sunday, but we cannot be physically present in all churches; we are constrained by our resources. Security is everybody’s business, the police alone cannot handle it. All hands must be on deck to tackle security issues.”
He urged men of God to create security committees or teams in churches.
“Create or get vibrant men to man your gates and other areas on the premises. Not old men in their 70s just because you want to pay them a stipend.
“You can even engage members who have a security background. After creating security teams or committees, inform us; we will help you train them and give them security tips.”
The DPO further urged the clergymen to get the contacts of the police and other emergency responders in case of emergency or security threat on their worship centres.
Adedeji said that the children’s church must also be secured as there have been cases of child stealing in some churches.
He advised the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chapter within Area C to create a social media platform or forum that would be dedicated solely to security issues.
“Have a WhatsApp platform solely for security issues, each church will have designated members, and it will be easy to disseminate information on any security threat,” he said. (NAN)