Nigeria's pastors run multi-million dollar businesses rivaling that of oil tycoons. They own businesses from hotels to fast-food chains, run flash cars and have private jets. The joint wealth of five pastors is estimated to be at least $200m (£121m).
Evangelical churches have grown in Nigeria in recent years, with tens of thousands of people flocking to their services. The richest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, is evidently worth about $150m. It is said he owns a publishing company, university, an elite private school, four jets and homes in London and the United States.
Bishop Oyedepo is followed on the rich list by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Believers' Loveworld Ministries. He is reputedly worth between $30 and $50m. His diversified interests include newspapers, magazines, a local television station, a record label, satellite TV, hotels and extensive real estate.
What have the televangelists in the states got that these guys haven’t? There’s definitely money to be made in God’s name. They might all have their noses put slightly out of joint now as developers in Singapore have come up with a programme to bring religion to the multitude via the mobile phones to which they are so addicted: Biblical quotations, extracts form the Koran, Buddhist prayer wheels. I didn’t notice any mention of Judaic texts in the report.
Now what do these figures mean to you? 28.9million, 26.1million, 20.9million, 17.9million, making a grand total of 939million.These are pounds and this is the amount four top bosses in England; Peter Hargreaves, Henry Engelhardt, Michael Spencer, Stephen Lansdowne have earned in dividends. Now what do these figures mean to you? 3.7million, 10.5million, 20.5million. These too are pounds sterling. The first is the bonus James Murdoch has magnanimously declined, contented with his 10.5million salary. His father Rupert’s earnings for the year amount to 20.5million.
These figures make a breathtaking grand total of 973.7million. Now add the pastor’s 121m and we have £1104,700,000.
Now place this next to the description I gave you of the African ox-drawn so-called ambulance and tell me any of it makes sense. Who was it supposed to inherit the earth?