It is no exaggeration to state that about 95% of the nation’s new generation churches were founded by tricksters who wear the toga of evangelists, pastors, prophets, self-ordained bishops and archbishops but whose only motive is how to swindle their followers. Mounting their evil pulpits, they play to the gallery, preaching only prosperity and abundance and such other things that appeal to the ears of their preys, such as deliverance, healing, betrothals, divination, making childless women to have children, among numerous lies and deceptions. In Acts 16:16-18, the Bible tells the story of a young evil spirit- possessed girl who was making money for her masters through divination that enabled her to predict the future for people. And in the same Acts 13:4-12 Elymas, The Magician also known as Bar Jesus used his magical skills to manipulate those who crossed his path, akin to what the tricksters do today in their wonder new generation churches. Paul, a no nonsense man, filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, audaciously confronted them and had them exorcised of their evil magic spirits. In Nigeria, they would have been mega rich general overseers.
Few years ago, magicians in the mold of the evil spirit possessed girl and Bar Jesus practiced their arts in secret places and road sides. Ironically, they are today, founders and general overseers of the wonder churches. As it is today, swindling, mischief, homosexuality, lesbianism, rape, seduction and sexual abuses are prevalent practices and norms in the wonder new generation churches. Some of them add Catholic Charismatic or renewal to their wonder churches’ names to lure uninformed Catholics, acquire highly sophisticated musical equipment that produce alluring rendition that turn their wonder churches to discotheques where members hallucinate, dance and find themselves in another world. A few examples of the wonder men’s horrendous atrocities will suffice, though the list is endless and alarming. Our towns and cities were awash in 2006/2007 with the gory story headlines about Rev. King, founder and Pastor in charge of “Christ Praying Assembly” associated with many heinous criminal acts that includes murder, seduction, sexual abuses, torture etc.
On Saturday, March 8, 2008 (page 47), The Daily Sun carried the story and pictures of Michael Ajayi – Crown Olojede of C&S Church, Oladego Parish, Okeira, Lagos and the Fagbemiro couple. In the said story, the shameless pastor arrogantly boasted that he did not only seduce Isaac Fagbemiro’s wife, Mrs. Modupe but fathered the couple’s 3 children. According to the story, the couple Mr. Israel Kehinde and his wife Modupe were having blissful relationship until they strayed into Prophet Ajayi’s wonder Church where the lady found a more energetic and dynamic alternative (Ajayi). On Thursday, July 7th, 2005, the Daily Independent on its front page carried a gory story headline that read: “Murder in the Church, Christ Embassy Pastors Arrested over the Death of Female Member’’. According to the story, two pastors of the Christ Embassy Church, Sunny Ifechukwu and Remmy Chukwudi of the Christ Embassy Church, Alafia Bus Stop, Isolo Road, Mushin, Lagos were arrested in connection with Akudofi Johnson’s gruesome murder inside her pastor-boss office.
On January 2014, the media houses were awash with the story of the beheading of a 12-year-old girl. The PM News carried it in a bold headline: “Pastor in Police Net over Murder” Pastor Sign fireman who was arrested in connection with the murder and eventually granted bail was highly celebrated by his adherents who in their Sunday Church Service, gave special offering on January 12, 2014 to thank God for their GO’s freedom from cell. The Daily Sun, Thursday, May 3, 2007 (page 19) carried the story and pictures of two pastors, Emmanuel Bello and Adeoye Kajore who allegedly swindled one Ifeanyi Chukwudi (a businessman) of over N40 million. The story’s bold headlines read: “Two Pastors in EFCC net for swindling man of N40 million’’. For Pastor Akinyele, whose own ministry is located in Ejigbo, a Lagos Suburb, a weekly entertainment tabloid, Sunday Express, Nov. 11-17, 2012 carried the story and picture of the amorous pastor with a bold headline: ‘Sex in God’s House – Pastor rapes 8 years old girl – paraded naked”.
The This Day Newspaper Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 (page 48) carried the pictures and story of a twosome – Pastor Ifeanyi Okoli and his wife Prophetess Ngozi Okoli who, according to the paper, took advantage of a widow Mrs. Theresa Onuora who strayed into their wonder born-again church and disposed the widow of valuables and property left behind by the widow’s husband. The wonder pastor and his wife had even unabashedly, started using the late man’s upholstery chairs and rugs they carted away from the poor widow whom they hypnotized with a powdery substance she was asked to bathe with. On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, The Daily Sun again on its page 11 carried the story of an unfaithful, callous wife who conspired with her new generation church pastor-lover and gruesomely killed her petroleum manager husband. After killing the man, the two love birds sat together comfortably to share the late man’s belongings. And while the pastor-lover boy cornered the deceased’s newly acquired automobile, the vicious jezebel dashed to the man’s bank and withdrew the sum of N4 million from the late man’s account. Having made the withdrawal, she then considered it somehow appropriate to inform her husband’s employer and later the police that her husband had not come back since he left for work.
On January 27, 2016, The Daily Sun again on its page 8 carried another gory story entitled: “Police in Enugu has Exhumed Three Decomposed Human Bodies Buried in the Foundation of a New Building Site believed to be a church building’’. Elsewhere in Alimosho LGA, a Lagos suburb, another born again/new generation church pastor was sighted by some vigilant neighbors at the wee hours of the morning burying the remains of a young boy he mindlessly killed for ritual. They promptly informed the police who arrested the wonder killer pastor. Also some time ago, a poor innocent girl who attended a church night vigil of a wonder church was trailed right from the church at the end of the devilish vigil at Ikeja and instantly murdered. Some parts of her body were removed. In St. Luke’s gospel 12:33-34, Jesus emphatically told his disciples and those wanting to follow him to shun materialism – a pre-requisite for discipleship calling. In Timothy 6:9-10, St. Paul again continues: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires which pull them down to ruin and destruction, for the love of money is the root of all evil’’. A church leader must not be materialistic (1Timothy 3:13).
*Nwakire (08063612036) writes from Isiala-Mbano LGA, Imo State.