A place of worship, for the religious, is a sanctuary. Beyond being a port in a storm, it has been a conduit for connecting with the superior being, the one humans take their problems to, for solutions.
However, the solitude and comfort which the sanctuary is supposed to provide, is now being threatened. Some of the revered worship centres have been desecrated by perpetrators of evil.
The gruesome gang-rape and murder of 22-year-old student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Omozuwa in the premises of a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God where she had been a member of the choir for years, left Nigerians asking wondering why such evil was successfully carried out there.
The late Uwaila was found unconscious and semi-nude in a pool of blood with life threatening injuries to her head that were inflicted with a fire extinguisher.
For some, the devil is only a figment of the imagination. But for the victim, she saw the devil in his full terror – not the fictional character of the black garment with protruding horns – but a fellow human armed with a fire extinguisher.
According to family members, the church was the victim’s favorite place to be as she always found peace, and studied there to avoid distractions from her siblings at home.
What followed her death days after the brutal attack was an outrage across all social media platforms, with Nigerians charging the police to bring the perpetrators to book.
Social media users also lamented the high level of insecurity in the country and expressed concerns over the lack of safety in a “house of God”.
Reacting to the incident, a Twitter user, @sheddybang wrote: “What was her crime? She went to study in a church where she thought was the safest, & right there, she was brutalized, raped & killed. Her murderer still roam the streets. For how long will this continue?”
Another Twitter user, @auntyadaa wrote: “So it is literally not about the kind of clothes we wear,it’s not about the kind of places we go, it’s not about how we talk or act. Uwa was in a church, properly dressed but she was raped and killed right inside ‘the house of God’. This is sad, it’s very sad.”
Murder is not the only sinister act carried out in a place of worship. Recently, some top officials of the Living Faith Church Worldwide a.k.a Winners Chapel were dismissed after an act of financial fraud was uncovered.
According to the founder and leader of the Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, the church’s accountants were discovered to have been doubling figures and embezzling millions of naira from its treasury.
He said “Those who should discover the fraud were the ones involved in it. One of them refused to confess until the last minute. I have to tell everyone present here because I know the dismissed officials will come to you for employment.
“Don’t employ them and don’t sympathise with them. Whoever sympathises with the wicked is wicked himself. Don’t sympathise with any perpetrator of fraud, otherwise you are a partaker of the evil act.
While the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) looks on in either total disbelief or lack of cohesion in its gradually fainting voice, the devil marches on – ravaging, leaving behind chaos, fear and destruction; the very trademark the church was set up for to neutralise.