Miracles, expensive cars, exorcisms and bodyguards: religion is big business in Nigeria. Reporter Seyi Rhodes and director Matt Haan travel to Lagos to reveal the world of millionaire preachers for this week’s episode of Channel 4’s Unreported World.

 

 

 

 

By promoting the dream of escaping poverty, they have turned their churches into corporations, which really are changing the face of Christianity.

 

Every Sunday millions of Nigerians crowd into thousands of competing churches. The Channel 4 team visits one church in Lagos run by Dr Sign Fireman, an up-and-coming preacher who is attempting to become the most successful yet.

 

Many Nigerian Pentecostal Christians believe that demons are the root cause of their problems in life and come to people like Dr Fireman to get rid of them.

 

Worshippers at a Pentecostal Church

 

Through the marketing of his talents, Dr Fireman has expanded his Perfect Christianity Ministry to 40 branches. Key to this growth is the emphasis on prosperity preaching: teaching that prosperity is a sign of spiritual blessing. The idea is that to become rich, you should give money to the church.

 

Pentecostal and independent churches in Nigeria tap into the Nigerian dream: the aspiration of having and being seen to have cars, houses, money and power.

 

Nigerian Millionaire Preachers: (L-R) Pastor Chris Okotie, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo Bishop David Oyedepo, Prophet T. B. Joshua

Nigerian Millionaire Preachers such as Pastor Chris Okotie, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo  Bishop David Oyedepo and  Prophet T. B. Joshua   acquire their wealth from various sources, including their congregations.

This episode of Unreported World intends to shed more light on this issue.

For more information and clips go to the  Unreported World videos website.

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3 Responses

  1. Raphael Brizzi

    Firstly i have to express the struggle within me to comment on this issue in any formal construct…there are so many problems in this world that are simply pure evil , from hounding hero,s in there grave for overpayment because he died too early , or using children as sacrifice for wealth…or using images of children on deaths door to bleed money from the comfortably blinded…for as long as i have been alive….! The issue you so beautifully exposed is just unbelievably worrying when so many children have been dying for years…and still are. And here we have Africa being manipulated yet again by the west…religion…money …to enforce upon themselves the religion that enslaved them…drained there country of its wealth…even orchestrated genocide … in the name of a WHITE prophet or god ???
    we can build oasis islands in dubai, build a conglomerate casino in the desert yet no one..not even jesus can build a damn in africa or at least something or some way to channel the only thing these dying children need…
    I am a proud naturalist and ….i only hope man will refrain from using his evil,s to oppress women firstly, and children for wealth and power, some time very soon….we have such a beautiful home…!

    Reply
  2. Reggy

    First, I am glad that this report was made by a fellow countryman. I’m still glad that it is shown here how possible it is to manipulate their “own people” from their “own pastors”. From the perspective of a European woman, I am glad that WE were not to blame in respect of the past colonization.
    My experience during my visits to Nigeria and Ghana, the Phänomän of the H.I.P = “Hallelujah HIP Infected People” is also te same in Europe. Most of these H.I.P believers come from Africa. I also kept endless discussions with the result that it will take a long time before the H.I.P – the VIRUS – will disappear from the minds of human that was transmitted across generations. This is the reality.
    But we must begin to lead with an awareness of things – to the people – that they open the mind and the eyes- so that they are “aware” of the matter. The perfect marketing from black African churches reflected in the fact, that the pastors, who are very conscious of “how” they can exploit their own people.
    What is the cost alone, for posters, banners, flyers, CDs, personal books, etc., etc.? And the sheep are told that they can do nothing better than to donate to a collection. The tricky Pastors know, that the sheep do not reflect. In one of my discussions they H.I.P told me, they give the collection to the man of God to GOD. FINISH. Another question about the cost of advertising for the churches has been answered, that every business man makes advertising for his product. FINISH.
    When I argue that for only one flyer on glossy paper, graphikdeseign, the expensive clothes of the pastor, cost for photographer, the cost of printing, the following marketing – that for this money, only for “one” flyer, that could build for all these costs a water pump in a village. I had expected, that they come into a solidarity thinking. Far Far Far is this solidarity.
    We all know that there is hunger and misery in Africa.
    H.I.P mention the psalms from the Bible and have their own interpretation. The pastors are using this for the SHOW. Running up and down like a grashopper. They know uncountable tricks – knowing what their own people like. It’s like a drug, the Flash, they can take home. H.I.P have no awareness that their financial contribution to God does not fill their stomachs and certainly not jointly liable for the other. MONEY is what they worship. Sometimes I wonder, what kind of satisfaction the H.I.P have the if they see the Nairas – sometimes collected from the ground – and collected in big xxxL- large refuse plastic bags. Not reflecting, when this tradition came up, as by weddings, music shows and other celebrations. DANCING IN MONEY.
    But in the churches, it goes even further with the “dumbing down” of the people. They are manipulated with healing and miracles. The pastors are giving the H.I.P the feeling, that they can be a part of his super natural power. Africans love this shows.
    Why so you think is this booming Buiseness in African churches with HEALING AND MIRACLES not attractiv for our Doctors with sick patients from Europe and the rest of the world to send them to Africa churches ???
    Is this not always the same show? Blind can see / cripple can walk. This trick we have long known. For pastors it is easy to find Actors for this show. (Everybody is hungry). Sometimes exorcism healing – but H.I.P like to heare the so-called cured. Well, the show is staged by the pastors with their whipping Jesus cries – to penetrate into the brain of the H.I.P people. When H.I.P cheer, dance, closing the eyes – it could be, that the pastor in his mind converted allready the Nairas to Dollar.
    For H.I.P is not clear that there is no WIN / WIN situation. They go back home in their misery, while the pastor is busy counting the money of the collection. When his show was good, he can be sure that the chairs are occupied in the church again next time.
    Children of H.I.P parents have it especially hard. Especially the children, which can not be allowed to go to school. Would it not be easy to take advantage of the times when the churches are empty, to teach the children the alphabet on the chairs? A dedicated teacher or a student, a blackboard and chalk. There are enough chairs. Education is the key and the future for this children.
    What problem can be solved by their own people?
    How long will Africa be depend from Europe and the rest of the world with countless different projects in Africa??? What can be solved but by their own people?
    We are all human and make mistakes. If I had someone juged wrong from my experiences and impressions, then it may be, that many things should be reconsidered. In any case, I thank Mr. Ohene Almaz and his team. I would like to thank them all and encourage them to continue.

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