Panic and fears took over the members of St Ferdinand Catholic Church, Ipaja area of Lagos, when a 42-year old man wearing a Naval cap, was arrested in the Church armed with a gun and other dangerous weapons during service.
Reports had it that the arrest of the suspect, Ono Macaulay, caused panic in the church as the worshippers suspected that he had come to the church for a massacre attack on them during the service.
However, the security measures put in place by the Lagos Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi, through the synergy between the public and Police saved the situation and the suspect was promptly arrested.
The incident happened on Sunday morning 12th June, 2022, at the church located at 215 Sector 6th Road, Ipaja area in Alimosho Local Government of Lagos State, when members of the church attended Sunday Mass for the day.
According to the worshippers, the Police intelligence from Ipaja Division led by their DPO, CSP Tokunbo Aboniwonda, arrested the suspect, Macaulay with the gun and recovered other weapons as exhibits in the process.
He had already smuggled the weapons into the church before the eagle eyes of the security on duty in the church suspected and accosted him for routine search, which he initially resisted.
But when he realized that he will not escape, he surrendered and the Police recovered the weapons and immediately arrested him. He was then taken to the station for interrogation over the conduct.
The Police also recovered the Naval cap, which he wore when he was arrested at the church premises as exhibit.
The motive behind his action was not disclosed by the suspect, who claimed that he was a member of the church and had come to the church for Mass with the weapons. But the worshippers disagreed and insisted that he had another motive, which made him to come to the church with the weapons probably to attack the worshippers during the Mass.
During interrogation, the Police also discovered that he was not a Naval personnel and was wearing the cap as cover up to commit crime before he was eventually caught.
Having been found culpable, he was arraigned before the Ejigbo Magistrates Court on Tuesday for unlawful possession of a gun and other dangerous weapons including the Naval cap he wore while not a Naval personnel.
When he was arraigned, he pleaded not guilty.
The prosecutor, Inspector Benedict Aigbokhan, then asked the Court to give a date for hearing since he pleaded not guilty before Court to enable the Police to prove that he actually committed the alleged offence.
The Presiding Magistrate, Mrs. K.A Ariyo, granted him bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum, who must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the Court.
He was remanded in the Correctional Centre at Kirikiri town, Lagos, pending when he will perfect his bail conditions while the matter was adjourned 10th July, 2022.
Before Macaulay was taken into custody, he had earlier told the Court that his father is from Delta State while his mother is from Lagos Island but he lives at Ipaja area of Lagos, where the incident happened.
He also revealed that the gun, which was found on him was an air gun he uses for hunting animals as his hobby and the other weapons were meant to protect himself because of insecurity in Nigeria. However, he did not explain why he took the items to the church on that day.
Additional reports from PM news