Monday, September 05, 2011

The Hope Peddlers

God is Nigeria's religious pastors run multi-million dollar businesses which rival that of oil tycoons. The joint wealth of five pastors was at least $200m (£121m).
Mfonobong Nsehe, who blogs for Forbes business magazine, says pastors own businesses from hotels to fast-food chains. Pastors are no longer solely interested in getting people to Heaven; they’ve devised ways to make good money while reaching out to souls.
"Preaching is big business. It's almost as profitable as the oil business," he said.

The richest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, was worth about $150m. Oyedepo owned a publishing company, university, an elite private school, four jets and homes in London and the United States.

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Believers' Loveworld Ministries was worth between $30 and $50m. Oyakhilome's interests include newspapers, magazines, a local television station, a record label, satellite TV, hotels and extensive real estate. He is the founder and lead pastor of the Christ Embassy, a thriving congregation with branches in Nigeria, South Africa, London, Canada and the United States. His publishing company, Loveworld Publications, publishes ‘Rhapsody of Realities,’ a monthly devotional he co-authors with his wife. It sells over 2 million copies every month at $1 apiece.

Others are Temitope Joshua Matthew of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations worth between $10m and $15m; Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre worth between $6 million and $10 million) and Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church worth between $3 million and $10 million.

"We have Nigerians who are desperate, looking for solutions to their problems. They go to church for salvation, redemption and healing and pastors sometimes take advantage of them,"
Mr Nsehe said.

Millions of Nigerians search for miracles, signs and wonders. They have continued to attend religious crusades to seek miracles to their numerous problems such as barrenness, unemployment, financial difficulties, deliverance from ancestral curses, sickness and more. In Nigeria today, there are more than 50 of such powerful pastors in whose areas of speciality are miracles, prophecy, healing, teaching, preaching, marriage counselling, and are attracting people with such problems.

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