There is presently a paradigm shift from the honest way of making a living and growing a business gradually to seeking speedy means of amassing wealth. Money rituals have become the preferred approach to achieving financial success and seeking solutions to personal problems. Dubious “men of God” now use various social media platforms, to magnify their calling and ability to provide easy wealth and give solutions to people’s problems through spiritual means.
The latest fad is an Anambra- based self-acclaimed Prophet, Onyeze Jesus, who has gained widespread popularity in the social media. He is the overseer of a church called the Children of Light Anointing Ministry located in Idimeli Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The prophet caused massive commotion online when he recently uploaded a video of his members, or probably clients, bathing naked in a river while he performed rituals with N50 notes being thrown into the river.
This is obviously a deviation from the basic scriptural principles that make for sowing and reaping, and seedtime and harvest. The process leading to the so-called wealth is so humiliating and dehumanizing. It is quite surprising that people would accept such bizarre means of trying to make it “big” only to later find out that they’ve been swindled.
The prophet in several videos on his social media platforms boasts of special powers to create wealth and solve whatever problems anyone might have. His phone number is also tagged on most of his uploaded videos as he welcomes interested individuals who want to be part of his ludicrous money-making rituals.
A victim of the Onyeze Jesus schemes, Joe, opened up on his experience with the Prophet. Joe, who referred to the man of God as a ‘top yahoo prophet’ disclosed that he was facing some challenges and decided to consult Onyeze Jesus. He ended up being defrauded of N275,000.
The process, he explained, is a very rigorous one that involves sleeping in the church for days. The church, Joe revealed, was just a backyard, and the prophet uses seven bottles of wine and seven candles to pray for seven nights. According to Joe, Onyeze Jesus told him to write down his wish in the night on a paper. Candles were placed around the paper, then the prophet broke a bottle of wine on both the candles and the paper, “This happened for good seven days” Joe stressed.
Joe further noted that he faithfully followed all instructions, yet no miracle took place in his life. Instead, what followed were strings of huge losses in his business.
Upon calling the man of God to report the shocking turnout of events in his life, Joe realized that Onyeze Jesus had blocked his number. He also blocked him (Joe) from his social media platforms.
This confession is one among the hundreds or thousands who have become victims of fake miracle peddlers or yahoo pastors in Nigeria.
One of such is Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, simply known as Reverend King who was the founder of The Christian Praying Assembly. King was sentenced to death in January 2007 after he was convicted for the murder of a church member, Ann Uzoh. It was reported by eyewitnesses that King set the woman on fire because she was caught in the “act of fornication”.
Micheal Olunrobi who set up a splinter group to the Cherubim and Seraphim Church in Birmingham was said to have repeatedly raped seven children. This was after given them a ‘holy bath’ which he claims would avert evil. Four of the girls became pregnant. Arrangement for the abortion was made by his wife Julia Oluronbi. Some of the children were as young as eight and for some, it continued into adulthood. Oluronbi was convicted of 15 rape charges, seven indecent assaults, and two sexual assaults.
The case involving a 58-year-old Durban- based televangelist, Pastor Timothy Omotosho of the Jesus Dominion International is still fresh in the minds of the Nigerian community in South Africa.
Nigerian- born Omotosho was arrested and tried for sexually abusing minor congregants in his home in Mhlanga, north of Durban. About 30 girls made the claims which were aired on South African state broadcaster, SABC. It was alleged among other things that he travels with young women and sexually abuses them on the trips. His church is reported to have over 20 branches in South Africa including branches in the United Kingdom and France. The list of these “yahoo Pastors” is quite long and their activities are mind-numbing.
This why the decision by the Anambra state government to scrutinize Onyeze Jesus’ action is a commendable step. This would serve as a warning to several others who use the church and the name of God as a camouflage to carry out wicked activities. A statement signed by C. Don Adinuba, the State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment revealed that the government would no longer tolerate the continuous abuse of the fundamental rights of the people in the state.
The self-acclaimed man of God ‘not only claims to change the economic status of his adherents by magical means but also throws a lot of Nigeria’s currency notes into the river’.
His mishandling of the naira currency in his videos has also elicited condemnation on social media. According to the man of God, the money sprayed is to help guarantee powers to do exploits. Others have demanded that the government arrest him for showing such disrespect to the Nigerian currency.
Onyeze Jesus promotes superstition and strife in society. By telling his gullible and brainwashed followers that their misfortune is caused by family members, relatives, friends, and business associates through magical powers, he is fermenting serious troubles and instigating eternal enmity in various places and businesses. Some of these troubles can lead to physical fights, bodily injuries, and even deaths,’ the statement partly reads.
Latest reports reveal that the self-acclaimed prophet and prosperity provider has been arrested by the police. The government’s decision to take up the issue is a welcome move as the widespread activities of ritualism seems to be the new normal in the country. It is also quite appalling that men and women would resort to such options, bypassing sensible approaches to business success and solving personal challenges. The rush to amass wealth is an endemic ravaging the country, especially among the youths.
The moral character and virtues of these so-called men of God are hardly questioned or probed by their clients all in a bid to get their own share of quick money. Regrettably, this trend will continue as long as there are people who choose to abandon common sense for myths.