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Thursday, 3 October 2013

King Of The Pimp Preachers In Nigeria Poor Christians Here Have Bishop T.D. Jakes - Poor Christians In Nigeria Have Bishop David Oyedepo New Orleans Bureau 09/21/2013

The first 19 slaves arrived in Jamestown Virginia in 1619 by Dutch Traders who stole them from Spanish Traders, so the slaves were stolen twice by Christians. Fast forward the clock almost 400 years and we still find African citizens in their native country plagued by larcenist, but this time the Slave Traders are Pastors.

The same Prosperity Gospel that has sucked millions of hard earned dollars out of the pockets of Believers in this country, has hit countries like Nigeria and Kenya with epidemic proportions. In the same manner as the indigenous American Indians immune systems were not equip to handle the diseases that came along with the Spaniards, neither can the Kenyan monetary immune system handle this “Sow a Seed” gospel that is now infecting their congregations. 

Our pastors have taught the African pastors just how to do it. The “it” I am referring to is how to take a group of poor people and convince them that the way to please God is to give the preacher some money. We have witness “it” play out in churches all across this country and in the Caribbean, and the only person who  has ever profited in any of these settings has always been the so-called Prophets/Pastors. 

The roads to riches now go through the pulpit in Nigeria literally, because some of the richest men in the country are Pastors. Nigeria is a country in which 2/3 of the population exist well below what we would consider poverty in the United States. Having said that, a few these pastors have managed to accumulate the type of “Christ Cash” that would make even Bishop Eddie Long look like an Amor Bearer. 

Listed below you will find three of the wealthiest pastors in Nigeria – you make also want to take this opportunity to clean your eye glasses.

Bishop David Oyedepo

Bishop David Oyedepo is a Nigerian Preacher, Christian Author, Founder and Presiding Bishop of Winners Chapel known as Living Faith Church World Wide. He is hailed as the wealthiest preacher in Nigeria with a total net worth of $150 million and properties like 4 private jets and homes in the United States and England. After the foundation of the Living Faith Outreach Ministry in 1981, it has evolved to be one of the largest congregations in Africa.

Net worth: $150 million
Ministry/Church: Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, also known as Winners Chapel

Every Sunday, he is hosting three worship services in Faith Tabernacle which has a total capacity of 50,000 people. He is also the founder and owner of the Faith Academy, a high school for the elites, Dominion Publishing House which publishes his books and Covenant University, a top tertiary school in Nigeria.


Chris Oyakhilome

Net worth: $30 million – $50 million
Church: Believers’ Loveworld Ministries, a.k.a Christ Embassy

With an estimated net worth between $30 million- $50 million, Chris Oyakhilome is one of the richest pastors in the whole of Nigeria. He is a faith healer, a televangelist and founding president of the Christ Embassy which is also known as the Believers’ LoveWorld Inc. 

He is actively involved in magazines, newspapers, local television station, satellite TV, record label and even real estate. 

He had been involved in a $35 million laundering case after he was accused of stealing his church funds and transferring it to foreign banks. He denied the accusation which dismissed the case eventually. Currently, Christ Embassy has over 40,000 members, some of which were successful politicians and business executives.

Bishop Temitope Joshua

Net worth: $10 million – $15 million
Church: Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN)

With an estimated net worth of $10 million-$15 million, this Nigerian televangelist, humanitarian, minister and faith healer belongs to the top 5 richest pastors in Nigeria.

He is the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, he is considered as the most philanthropic and controversial churchman.

Through the years, the church has expanded to Greece, South Africa, Ghana and United Kingdom with over 15,000 worshipers on regular Sunday service. He owns a Christian television network named Emmanuel TV, and for over 3 years, he has given up a total of about $20 million to help a number of causes including healthcare, education and rehabilitation programs for the militants of Niger Delta.

A complaint file with against Bishop Temitope Joshus

"Although this man is operating in West Africa, he is using youtube to gather a following worldwide, and is making inroads into the American church. He has gathered "recommendations" from big names (including CeCe Winans) which he broadcasts on his television channel (Emmanuel TV). He calls them "interviews" but in reality it is pretty obvious that he sent his minions to a conference and had them shove a mic into people's faces, asking them to read a script "This is So-and-so Big Name, keep watching Emmanuel TV."

Even my own pastor at one point visited the SCOAN several decades ago, and was handed a mic so that he could say something nice about the church, and that decades old video is currently on youtube presented as a recent recommendation by a "well known American pastor." (he's not that well known, lol).

There is no question in my mind that SCOAN is a cult. Interacting with this man's followers makes that clear. They have no Biblical defense for the heresy and blasphemy he promotes. They are limited to 3 or 4 responses to questions. 1: "The Bible says Do not judge! Leave the man of God alone" 2: "You are a demon! Or at least demon posessed!" 3: "How many demons have YOU cast out? Do better than him and then we will follow you!" 4: "You clearly don't know God, if you question a man who has such great power!"

Major problems with TB Joshua

  • He has gathered his vast riches from the hands of desperate people entrenched in poverty.

  • He broadcasts flagrant heresy via Emmanuel TV. He allows people to testify that he is "THE son of Jesus", "seated at the right hand of God with Jesus", etc. He allows people to kneel before him.

  • He promotes his special "annointing water" and labels it as "The blood of Jesus", and says it is for healing and the salvation of the soul. Four people in Ghana DIED in a stampede to get some of this water.

Actually, everything is a major problem with him, but i can't write a book. His actual sermons are usually inoffensive but incredibly repetetive and shallow. It's in the "deliverance" services that the real crazy comes out."

First Read:

Is Nigerian Bishop David Oyedepo Bullying Ugandan Pastors?

The story of Nigeria's most enigmatic Prosperity pastors

Wealthy Nigerians, Pastors Spend $225 million on Private Jets

Nigeria's three richest churches

They pastor huge congregations and wield enormous influence in political and economic circles. In effect, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, Bishop David Oyedepo and Pastor Enoch Adeboye are men of means as much as they are men of God.
He looks like a matinee idol, dresses like a CEO and speaks with the diction of an airport announcer. And in the estimation of his numerous followers, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome preaches with power and is capable of providing deliverance from all human afflictions.

Since hitting the limelight in the 1990s, the tele-genic Oyakhilome, founder of Christ Embassy, a Pentecostal ministry headquartered in Lagos, has become the face of celebrity Christianity in Nigeria. Simply put, Oyakhilome is glamour and gospel rolled into one. He moves around Lagos in a long convoy of posh automobiles, sirens blaring and shielded by a slew of security men. He also has an intriguing persona. On his birthday, his followers place congratulatory adverts in major newspapers, but none of these has ever revealed his age.

If there are doubts about Oyakhilome's age, there are none about his crowd-pulling power. Among Nigerian Pentecostal pastors, only very few draw bigger crowds than the Edo State-born preacher. His weekly services are said to draw an average of 30,000 faithful, more than some European soccer teams draw for their games. Many of his followers travel from far places, some of which already have satellite arms of the church, just to be in his presence. Oyakhilome's open air crusades attract monstrous attendances.
Oyedepo, affectionately called Papa, is an exponent of prosperity preaching. According to him, it was while on a trip to Tulsa in the United States, during the 1980s, that God said: "Make my people rich.
At every crusade, seats are booked in advance. The last of these took place at his newly acquired Miracles Ground said to be about 3,000 hectares on the Lagos/lbadan expressway tagged Good Friday Miracle Night, the programme attracted an estimated 500,000 faithful.

With the turnout, vehicular movement became chaotic, sentencing road users to a wait of between eight and 10 hours. Also because of the traffic gridlock, some Christ Embassy members spent the night trapped on the road.

But Oyakhilome did not have to endure the hardship. He was the star of the show and got a star treatment by being flown to the event in a helicopter. While other road users seethed and cursed, Oyakhilome's followers were in rapture. To them, the pastor's blessings were more than enough compensation for the hardship. Some even suggested that non-followers had been richly blessed-for spending almost half a day on a 30-minute journey!

But such is the spell-binding effect of the man fondly called Pastor Chris, an object of adulation rather than admiration. His name is mentioned with deference, a gesture extended to Anita, his mulatto wife and director of the church's international operations. She also pastors the satellite arms in the United Kingdom. Oyakhilome's appearance on the pulpit for crusades sparks hysteria, characterised by howling, shrieking and frenzied waving of arms. Though frequently hit by scandal and perennial public doubt of his claims to healing powers, Oyakhilome remains infallible to his followers, who explain the criticisms and scandals as persecution.

 This is hardly surprising, given that they are drip-fed on his teachings. One important teaching of Oyakhilome and of other Pentecostal preachers is "sowing the seed." This requires followers to give part of their earnings to the church in offerings and tithes.

The expected dividends on these are divine blessings. With a church full of young company executives and businessmen, every programme guarantees enormous revenue. Those without money, said a source, are enjoined to turn in their jewelry, wrist­ watches and other personal items as offering or tithes. As the source told this medium, followers fall over one another to do that, expecting God to turn on his tap of blessings. Others give cars, generators, musical equipment and chairs to the church.

In March 2002, Lawrence Agada, an assistant pastor who was a cashier with the Lagos Sheraton Hotels and Towers, donated cash and gifts totaling N39 million to the church. Agada's donations were in installments. He bought a 2S0KVA generator valued at N4.4 million, and another 27KVA generator for NI.5 million, which he donated to a satellite branch of the church.

Before then, he had given N6 million for the refurbishment of the branch, as well as N1 million for the purchase of plastic seats for the headquarters. Agada also contributed N1million to the success of a mega­ crusade tagged Night of Bliss. His parish pastor, who had no money for a trip to Australia, was given N400, 000. In appreciation, Oyakhilome wrote Agada: "May God, who gives seed to the sower and bread for eating, multiply your seeds in Jesus name."

Rather than receive God's blessings, Agada became a guest of the police when his employers discovered that he had stolen from them to give to the church. Agada's employers also insisted that Oyakhilome should refund the money. But the church issued a statement admitting that Agada made donations, but refused to make a refund.
A year later, Gbenga Kehinde, another member, donated to the church in similar circumstances. Then an assistant manager with Eko International Bank, Kehinde stole about N40 million from his employers and donated N 10 million to the church. That also became a messy affair.
But Oyakhilome has income streams other than offerings, tithes and donations. Though trained as an Architect, he appears to have a sharp business sense which has enabled him to exploit his marketability. Like David Beckham, England 's soccer star, Oyakhilome's name and face sell huge quantities of merchandise, which make him such a rich preacher of the gospel.

These include books, video tapes of his crusades and miracles, audio tapes, CDs, VCDs and DVDs of his teachings, which are sold at the various parishes and through agents. They can also be bought online, via the digital media store on the church's websites.
One of the church's websites advertises audio and visual materials on various aspects of the Christian faith. In Nigeria, a video tape costs between N300 and N1,300. CDs are bought for between N300 and
N1,300, while DVDs attract between N600 and N3,600. There are also various books which cost between N200 and N450. All are written by Oyakhilome and Anita, his wife.

The most successful of these is Rhapsody of Realties, a bi­monthly devotional guide. The book, which is published in 25 languages and also has a children's version, is considered a companion to the Bible. For Oyakhilome's followers around the world, it is an important emblem of faith. In Nigeria, it costs N350. Abroad, it is $5, while a one-year subscription attracts $43.20. For on-line purchases, video tapes, CDs, VCDs and DVDs cost between $18 and $20.
The colourful preacher's interest in television hardly came as a surprise. Until 2004, when the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) barred thy airing of unverifiable faith healings on television, Oyakhilome was the biggest patron of Nigerian television stations. His Atmosphere for Miracles (ATM), ran seven days a week, on about 20 TV stations.
Oyakhilome's messages are also received on pocket personal computers, mobile phones and palmtops. While the steady streams of income have kept him in affluence, they have also provided the muscle for other businesses and more importantly thy expansion of his church.
About two months ago, Oyakhilome bought over the ailing Minaj Television from Senator Mike Ajeigbo. Though details of the deal' are undisclosed, the station's staff, who have been unpaid for 18 months, are hoping that Oyakhilome will work his famed miracles on their lives.

The colourful preacher's interest in television hardly came as a surprise. Until 2004, when the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) barred thy airing of unverifiable faith healings on television, Oyakhilome was the biggest patron of Nigerian television stations. His Atmosphere for Miracles (ATM), ran seven days a week, on about 20 TV stations.

Even with the NBC ban, Oyakhilome still retains his slots, replacing the ATM with Teaching Programme and LoveWorld: The ATM continues to run, twice a week, on Ghana 's Metro TV and throughout the week on LoveWorld Christian Network, 'ii, satellite channel owned by Oyakhilome. It also runs on TBN in South Africa.

This, naturally, costs huge sums of money. But Oyakhilome's business interests transcend television. These new business, dreams, which when realised, will establish him as a genuine tycoon. Lined up are an airline, named Skypower, and Dickson's., a fast food chain conceived to rival the behemoth Mr. Bigg's, owned by United African Company (UAC). For the airline, the pastor is said to have begun acquiring planes for its operations,. He is also said to have interest in music, with his debut CD dud for release soon. The initiative to go into music, all things being equal, should yield even more income for the handsome preacher.
Oyakhilome may dominate the airwaves, but he does not own the biggest church facility. That honour, allegedly, belongs to Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Ministries a.k.a. Winners' Chapel. Situated in Ota, Ogun State , the six­sided church-named Shiloh or Faith Tabernacle has a capacity of 50,000 worshippers and features a 5,000-strong choir. In Lagos, members are given free bus rides to the church.
The church auditorium, which took just one year to build, is touted as the world's biggest church building. During construction, carried out by architects and engineers who are members of the church and who worked for free, a trailer was said to have made a smooth U-turn inside the hall without having to engage the reverse gear.
Oyedepo's followers believe that his teachings inspire them to see themselves as winners. The Bishop can be rightly described as the winner of winners.
Famous as the Faith Tabernacle is, it is just one structure on a vast tract of land known as Canaanland. Also situated in Canaanland is the Covenant University, of which Oyedepo is chancellor; a secondary and a primary school.
The primary school named Kingdom Heritage, charges N10,000 as tuition fee per term for its kindergarten class and N7, 000 for its upper classes. It has branches in 12 other Nigerian cities. The secondary school, named Faith Academy, charges N 150,000 per session. The university charges different fees in its three different colleges. Students at the College of Human Development pay N228, 000 per year; those at the College of Business and Social Sciences pay N238, 000, while their counterparts at the College of Science and Technology pay N250, 000.
Lecturers housed by the university also pay rents deductible from source. Assistant lecturers pay N100, 000 annually on two-bedroom flats, while senior lecturers pay N240, 000 for three-bedroom flats. Aside from the funds realisable from these sources, it is the duty of members in all branches of the church to con­tribute towards the development of the university.
Members of the church call themselves Winners, an allusion to their perceived victory over poverty, demons and disease. Oyedepo, affectionately called Papa, is an exponent of prosperity preaching. According to him, it was while on a trip to Tulsa in the United States, during the 1980s, that God said: "Make my people rich."
Oyedepo's followers believe that his teachings inspire them to see themselves as winners. The Bishop can be rightly described as the winner of winners. Every Sunday, his followers congregate at the Faith 'Tabernacle for weekly services.

As they stream into the vast auditorium, they are handed envelopes for offerings, tithes and other donations. They also get pieces of paper on which they are expected to write what they request from God. The routine is also repeated during Shiloh, a week-long annual camp meeting which draws members from Nigeria and abroad. Oyedepo has missionaries working in about 30 African countries.
His foreign outposts also send revenue to the headquarters, for which he has unfettered access. Two years ago, the leader of the church In Ghana, Bishop George Adjeman, was dismissed for his decision to stop the remittance of money to the headquarters.
A report in the Ghanaian Chronicle put the monthly revenue from parishes in Ghana at $60,000. Adjeman was replaced by Dzidefo Mensah, who once served as 'Missionary Number One' at the Winners' Chapel in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Yet, there are many other sources of money. One of these is publishing. According to Oyedepo, God gave him a publishing mandate in 1983 and told him: "Your books are supernatural arrows for the liberation of mankind, send them forth! My presence shall go with them and they shall subdue and devour the works of the wicked multitudes will be saved, baptised in the Holy Ghost, healed and delivered from all oppressions of the devil. Emphasise the books and your publications that is my task for you."
This task has been well accomplished. As part of his empire, Oyedepo established Dominion Publishing House and has written about 70 books covering various aspects of the Christian faith and teaching followers how to be successful in business. The books are bestsellers in their own right and have been translated into French. On the church's website, the prices range between four and eight pounds each.
His wife, Faith, is also an author with a number of books on marriage to her credit. In 1998, Oyedepo established the Gilead Medical Centre at his headquarters in Lagos . Two years later, he opened its branch in Kaduna, where his ministry began. According to the church, the medical facility relies on both divine intervention and medical expertise. With the firm belief in God as the healer, a number of otherwise incurable diseases have been miraculously cured."
However, the church claims that the clinic provides treatment at heavily subsidised rates. Oyedepo's church also sells gift items online. Its website bears information on the use of these and how to buy. "Our gift certificates are the perfect gift solution put an end to those tricky moments when you just can't seem to find the right gift, or you need a gift in a hurry.
Send as many as you want to let friends, family or customers and colleagues select the present they really want. We have something for everyone," says the website.
With its long product chain, Oyedepo's Winners' Chapel is something close to a corporation. And like a socially responsible corporation, it has made its presence felt in Nigeria and outside. In 1997, it provided food, clothing and other relief materials to indigenes of Koma Hills in Northern Nigeria , where natives had remained un­touched by the winds of civilisation. In 1996, it gave relief materials to victims of the Liberian civil war.
The Bishop himself lives like a mogul He owns a garage of state-of-the-art cars, had a private jet and has a list of powerful friends that includes President Olusegun Obasanjo, who frequently attends the church, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, disgraced police boss, Tafa Adebayo Balogun and many captains of industry.
Oyedepo, however, is not the only preacher with friends in high places. Perhaps more than him is Reverend (Dr.) Enoch Adejare Adeboye, a former university teacher and General Overseer (G.O.) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
Adeboye's style is more laid-back. He dresses simply, speaks softly, but arrests almost effortlessly the attention of the rich and the poor. Under Adeboye, fondly called Daddy G.O., the RCCG, which was founded in 1952 by the late Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, has grown exponentially.
In 1981, when Adeboye took over, the ministry had a few dozen parishes. It is currently Nigeria's most ambitious evangelical project, establishing, according to the church, three parishes daily.
In 1981, when Adeboye took over, the ministry had a few dozen parishes. It is currently Nigeria's most ambitious evangelical project, establishing, according to the church, three parishes daily. It has an estimated 200 parishes in the USA. It also has in about 90 nations across Africa and Europe . It is easily the fastest growing church in the world. Every parish established within one year sends 10 per cent of its tithes and offerings to the headquarters.

Those that have existed for between one and two years remit 15 per cent of such, while older ones remit 20 per cent. Last July, the church announced its plans to build a 10,000-capacity sanctuary in Floyd, Texas, USA. The is to be built on 500 acres of land bought at a cost of $1million. The land will also have two lecture theatres, a dormitory, cottages, lake and a Christian the med park.

Back home, the church's might is unmissable. There is a parish within every five-minute drive, or in some cases less than that radius. But the church's most famous landmark is the Redemption Camp, a monstrously vast acreage located on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.

It hosts the monthly camp meeting called Holy Ghost Night which, according to the church, attracts crowds of between 800,000 and 1.2 million. Held on the first Friday of every month, the night long programme offers worshippers an avenue to ask God for their desires; and the church, an opportunity to boost its finances. About 20,000 ushers with polythene bags move round the huge crowd, taking offerings and other monetary pledges.

The camp also hosts the Holy Ghost congress, the church's biggest event of the year. The congress, which holds every December, is a three-day affair which draws RCCG members from Nigeria and outside, as well as from other denominations. In 1998, it assumed a bigger dimension, with the successful hosting of Lekki '98 at Lekki Beach , Lagos .

The mega-event required mega-preparations which RCCG did not fail to pro­vide. The church provided more than 200,000 benches, large screens for those seated far from the pulpit; numerous masts, each bearing 12,000 watts of bulbs. The church spent the sum of N36.7million on lighting and providing generating sets at the venue of the event.

It also provided toilets and two clinics for the infirm and pregnant women. It was massively supported by Nigerian Breweries plc among other donors. The church sold mementoes of the event, earning good money as a result.
The Redemption camp is a town on its own. It has banks, residential quarters for staff and members wealthy enough to buy.
Since then, the event has grown bigger every year. It has also attracted the cream of the Nigerian society, as the President, governors, ministers, senators, traditional rulers like the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, business moguls and other prominent Nigerians, some of who, like Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, do not even belong to the Christian faith. This demonstrates Adeboye's massive influence.

The Redemption camp is a town on its own. It has banks, residential quarters for staff and members wealthy enough to buy. It also has a good network of roads and other utilities. It is the site of the Redeemer's University of Nigeria (RUN) and a secondary school, Christ The Redeemer's School Movement, both owned by the church. Already, the site is a source of friction between the RCCG and Oyakhilome's Christ Embassy.

The latter, which recently set up shop on the expressway, is said to be competing with RCCG for the hearts of the landowners who prefer RCCG which offers greater sums for land acquired.

Aside from its educational institutions, especially its many parishes which run money-spinning day care centres and nursery schools, the church also realises income from Haggai, a community bank established in the 1990s. Yet, there is the Dove Media, a company established to oversee RCCG's television, radio Internet and publishing ventures. Recently, the company announced its arrival on the lucrative Nigerian home video scene, producing films with scriptural themes, using famous secular actors. Many RCCG parishes also run clinics.

Though Adeboye writes books, he is not as prolific as Oyakhilome and Oyedepo. He also appears on television far less frequently than Oyakhilome. But there is no doubting his influence, built on his scandal-free image. He is known as an unofficial adviser of President Obasanjo and was courted, with futility, by the late General Sani Abacha.

Two years ago, a seven-day boat cruise organised by a company owned by Prince Lanre Tejuosho, the wealthy son of Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, the Osile of Oke Ona Egba, had Adeboye on board.

Aside from the royal presence of Oba Tejuosho, the boat which cruised through the Americas also had on board Mr. Felix Ohiwerei, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Babajide Rogers, then Managing Director, Gulf Bank and Mr. Erastus Akingbola, Vice Chairman, Intercontinental Bank Group. Others were the late Chief Debo Akande, a legal luminary, and Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, wife of Lagos State Governor, Alhaji Bola Tinubu. Adeboye is also known to be close to the wealthy Ibru family. He is regularly seen in the company of Chief Michael Ibru, publisher of The Guardian and his wife, Cecilia, Managing Director, Oceanic Bank plc.

A church source disclosed that through the contributions of members, the church funds its activities, particularly charities. Widows, the in­firm and other economically disadvantaged people are assisted.

But many frown at the wealth in possession of some pastors. Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie, Archbishop of the Lagos Catholic Diocese reckons that the easiest way to make money in Nigeria is by using the Bible. "Why would a pastor give 90 per cent of his time to the body and give only 10 per cent to the soul? I wonder what kind of pastors these are. They have been skinning the flock, taking out of the milk of the flock. They give Greek gifts to their members. They will say I will give you a job without really meaning it. Of course, you must pay tithes, not only on your salary, but outside of it," Okogie rapped.
Last year, the Nigerian Pentecostal circuit was rocked by allegations of fraud over an unsuccessful crusade held by famous American evangelist, Benny Hinn.
He, however, admits that the trend has become noticeable in the non-Pentecostal churches. "As you are talking about Pentecostal churches, we Catholics are also worried People are always talking about money. But money is not everything," he reasoned. Last year, the Nigerian Pentecostal circuit was rocked by allegations of fraud over an unsuccessful crusade held by famous American evangelist, Benny Hinn. The American preacher committed $4 million into the project. The money was handled by a local organising committee headed by Bishop Lanre Obembe of the El-Shaddai Bible Church.

Despite the huge financial outlay, attendance at the crusade was measly. An enraged Hinn did not hide his disappointment. This led to the establishment of a committee to probe the development. The committee, made up of members of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), recommended the suspension of Obembe for financial impropriety. Obembe rejected the report, causing another panel to be raised. That also suspended him.

Aside from the unimpressive attendance at the crusade, Hinn also frowned at the decision of the organisers to put his photograph on the poster advertising the crusade. This is the norm in Nigeria, where preachers seem desperate to cultivate box-office profiles and promote themselves rather than God.
Rapu describes this trend as pastors presenting themselves as "surrogate fathers," who see themselves as mediating between their congregation and God. "Pastors, please release the people to God. You are not the Holy Spirit. The superstar and celebrity mentality of the anointed must stop," cautioned Rapu.

However, inviting big name foreign preachers to Nigeria is a big item on the nation's Pentecostal menu. The bigger the name of the foreign preacher, the more it draws crowds and offerings.

Are followers fleeced? May be not. Pentecostal pastors believe they have a divine mandate to free their followers of all afflictions, including poverty. This freedom is contingent upon giving. In an interview with Charisma, Oyedepo said: "Every time I see lack, it haunts me." He also noted that poverty statistics in South Korea went down when a Christian revival swept through the country in the last century.

In a chat with an online journal, Tony Rapu, a former RCCG pastor, said the church in Nigeria is in a mess. Rapu, who now pastors his own congregation known as This Present House, believes that too much emphasis is placed on materialism. He also condemned authoritarianism in the church and the fierce rivalry that inhibits meaningful cooperation between them.

But despite criticisms of their faith, every genuine Pentecostal Christian believes that he or she has a duty to "sow a seed" or give to God. The success of big time pastors inspire the upcoming ones, some of who take to massive frauds. In 2003, an RCCG pastor who worked with a soft drink bottling company, was involved in a fraud amounting to almost