UK-based Nigerian pastors who live lavish and prey on believers

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – A recent report has revealed the lavish life of UK-based Nigerian pastors, including plush mansions, a £120,000 birthday party and thousand of direct debit forms every week from worshippers.

According to the report which was gatherered by a British newspaper, Pastor Ashimolowo and Alex Omokudu, who were described as ‘Britain’s loaded pastors’, live in sprawling seven-figure mansions while their congregations are told to hand over money often straight from their salaries.

The pastors are said to lead church services where they claim people have been cured of life threatening illness, sometimes on the spot.

Omokudu continues to promote videos such as one claiming a young boy has been cured of cancer as the pastor placed his hands on him, based on findings.

The reporters said they witnessed worshippers being told ‘God wants you to give all your money to him’ and warned about ‘disobedience to God’ before being handed direct debit forms.

The pastors claim to share their wealth with those who need it, but the reporters say they can reveal financial dealings which have seen them acquire lavish lifestyles most worshippers can only dream of.

Omokudu, they say, claims to be ‘heavily annointed with healing powers from God’. His church takes more than £1 million a year in donations from devoted worshippers.

Omokudu was said to have moved to UK in 2002 and started his church Victorious Pentencostal Parish (VPA) there three years later.

Today, Omokudu is said to own an extravagant £2 million nine-bedroom mansion in Hornchurch, Essex. The gated mansion homes five reception rooms, a swimming pool, a sauna and a 250ft garden. The same pastor also owns a £600,000 property located nearby.

In contrast to Omokudu’s lavish lifestyle, his website message says:

‘My wealth belongs to the people, whatever I have I give out. People are suffering and need help.’

A reporter who visited the main church in Barking, East London, said the worshippers in the church were repeatedly told, ‘Give your money to God to get ahead of others.’

Despite vowing to serve the worshippers who donate over £1 million a year, Omokudu personally takes an annual rent of £102,000 for the building where they worship.

Investigations had revealed that Omokudu had purchased the property for £1 million with the help of a loan from London-based Kenyan called Kennedy Kulei.

Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, on the other hand, launched his church Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in 1992 from a rented hall.

Now, twenty-five years later, his church has £16.4 million worth of assets, £500,000 in the bank and gathers £8 million revenue every year.

The church also enjoys an army of volunteers who work over 300,000 hours of free labour worth more than £2 million a year.

Ashimolowo lives rent free in a £1.1 million nine-bedroom home in Romford, Essex, owned by the church. Reporters say they have obtained documents that show that the property was purchased by charity.

He and his wife own a second £600,000 home in Grays, Essex, currently occupied by their son.

He used to earn around £50,000 a year until 2005, when a probe by the Charity Commission found that he had flouted charity rules by being a trustee and paying himself a salary. is wife Yemisi who is also a senior pastor at the church both earn around £50,000 a year for ‘pastoral services’.

Charity Commission had also found that Ashimolowo used church funds to pay for a £102,000 birthday party for himself at a London hotel, an £80,000 new Mercedes Benz and a £13,000 Florida timeshare.

More than £500,000 have been paid by the church to his own private companies including Matthew Ashimolowo Media Ministries which publishes books and DVDs of his teachings.

In an interview this year, Ashimolowo said:

‘Money is called currency because it flows to where it ia celebrated, to wherever it is respected and showed it is needed and can be handled well.

Anything God blesses me with I just use to bless others. I don’t stack it somewhere.’

However, the reporter who visited his church in Walthamstow, East London, lamented that the service seemed like a sales pitch. The sermon, on that day, ‘The Power of the Tithe’ listed 14 reasons why worshippers should donate ten percent of their income to church.

Ashimolowo told worshippers at his church that, ‘If you do not pay tithe, it is like you do not really trust God.’

He described tithe money as an ‘insurance against Satan’. If you refuse to pay tithe to God, it is ‘impossible for Him to realease your harvest’, the pastor was noted to have said to worshippers at his church.

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AMAA 2018: Entry opens for 14th edition of movie awards

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Africa Film Academy (AFA) has invited filmmakers to submit their feature, short, animation and documentary works for consideration in roughly thirty categories of awards lined up for Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), 2018.

According to report, this is the 14th edition of the awards.

Only films produced and released between June 2016 and January 2018 can be entered for the awards. Submission is to be made online on Film Freeway or any of the AMAA offices across the continent.

Deadline for submissions is January 30, 2018. However, late entries will be accepted until February 14, 2018.

Nominations will be announced on April 2018. The awards finale will hold on June 2, 2018, and be televised globally.

AMAA was founded in 2005 by Nigerian filmmaker Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and is one of the most prestigious and glamorous entertainment industry event in Africa. It is mostly held annually in Nigeria.

The awards was created to facilitate the development and showcasing of the social relevance of African film and cinema.

The 2017 AMAA was held on July 15, 2017, at Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel. It was hosted by top Nollywood actress Nse Ikpe Etim.

Nollywood: The Wedding Party 2 breaks box-office records

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai, the sequel to the 2016 Nollywood romantic comedy movie The Wedding Party, is breaking box-office records at home and abroad.

Report says, in the opening weekend from December 15-17, 2017, the movie raked in ₦73.3 million (about $202,000) in Nigeria cinemas.

The movie beats Star Wars: The Last Jedi in Nigerian cinemas. It had grossed ₦300 million by the first week of January, 2018. Even though these earnings are small compared to the global earnings for The Last Jedi, analysts think it is still significant for Nigeria and Nollywood. It also beats the Fast and Furious 8 opening weekend sales by about ₦20 million, according to another report.

The Wedding Party 2 starts off from the end of the first movie where a kiss between a groomsman and a bridesmaid sets the course for a new wedding. However, the culture clash between a Yoruba and Igbo family becomes more complicated with the introduction of the bride’s British family to a destination wedding in the city of Dubai.

After opening in Nigeria,the movie went on to open in 17 other African countries. Then it opened in the UK where it had the biggest single day opening for a Nollywood movie.

Encouraged by the success of the movie locally and internationally, the producers intend to take it to the US, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

The movie was produced by the ELFIKE Film Collective, a partnership between EbonyLife Films (owned by Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu), FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios.

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Osinbajo: Nigeria’s Vice President on vacation

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been on vacation in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Report says its the vice president’s first vacation since May 2015 when the current administration came into power.

In a tweet, Laolu Akande, the spokesperson of the vice president, revealed that the vice president has been resting abroad with his wife and children and is expected back this weekend.

Akande’s tweet read:

‘Osinbajo, his wife and children have been resting abroad on his annual leave. He is expected back in the country this weekend from the UAE.’

The vice president had to act as president for a greater part of 2017 during President Muhammadu’s long absence on medical vacation in London.

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Railway: Nigeria launches first dry port

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned Nigeria’s first dry (inland) port, an inland cargo terminal directly connected by rail to a seaport.

After commissioning new rail vehicles at the Rigasa train station in Kaduna on Thursday, January 4, 2018, President Buhari rode on a train to Kakuri at the outskirts of Kaduna to commission the dry port, report says.

The president said the port will boost the economy of the nation, create more job openings and provide shipping services even without a seaport.

He urged stakeholders to make optimal use of the facility and avoid visiting unnecessary hardship on Nigerians who use it too.

Earlier, while commissioning ten new coaches and two new locomotives at the Rigasa station, the president reaffirmed the intention of his administration to thoroughly implement the federal government’s 25-year railway master plan.

According to report, government had purchased the new rail vehicles to reduce the stress of passengers whose large volume currently overwhelms facilities and had encouraged ticket racketeering and other sharp practices on the train route.

Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi said railway transport is almost becoming a new trend in Nigeria through the recent efforts of government to expand its facilities.

Amaechi said this expansion of railway facilities is an indication that ticket racketeering will no longer be seen and passengers will no longer protest at the train stations because of inadequate services.

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PDP: APC should stop reeling out promises at New Year

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party not to issue any New Year message to Nigerians since they have not met any of their previous promises to Nigerians.

This was mentioned in a statement signed by Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, on Friday, December 29, 2017.

The party described the ruling party’s promises as ‘litany of woes’ and explained that Nigerians were tired of the hardship imposed on them by the administration over the past two years, report says.

It said APC has been issuing out messages that are full of hope to Nigerians every New Year without any intention of fulfilling them.

The party also said that what is the purpose of the message when it would be full of lies.

PDP noted that the ruling party had promised massive employments only to leave increasing number of Nigerians jobless or underemployed between 2016 and September 2017.

The statement released by PDP read:

‘Nigerians have become overstretched by litany of woes visited on them in the last two years by the APC government, it would be the height of callousness for the party and its government to spew another round of propaganda and false hope in the name of New Year messages.

What else would they tell Nigerians apart from inventing new lies and propaganda as they have always done, particularly at the turn of each New Year.

Every New Year since 2016, the APC and its Federal Government have been reeling out heaps of promises which they have no intentions to fulfill.

Now, they are warming up to reel out fresh ones in January 2018.

What is the need of a New Year message from APC government when it would be replete with propaganda?

What is the need of their yearly assurances when the only thing we see is an arrogant and incompetent government plunging the nation into economic recession and visiting the citizens with the worst forms of untold hardship.

What seriousness should any Nigerian attach to a government that takes governance for granted, puts off Federal Executive meetings at the slightest whims and blame imaginary invasion of its offices by rats for the inability to meet required statutory functions?

What else should Nigerians expect from a government that promised massive employments, only to render 7.74 million Nigerians jobless between 2016 and September 2017; with combined unemployment and underemployment rate hitting 40.0 per cent as declared by the National Bureau of Statistics?’

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Atiku Media Office kicks against inciteful false statement

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – The media office of former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar has reacted to a false statement which it says is intended to pitch the former vice president against Prince Uche Secondus, the national chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), PDP national executive committee (NEC), PDP governors and stakeholders of PDP.

This reaction was expressed in response to a tweet by Mr. Abubakar Sidiq Usman, a Nigerian blogger tweeting with the handle @MrAbuSidiq.

Sidiq’s tweet on Monday, December 18, 2017, read:

Atiku’s desperation may harm our chance of winning 2019 election. – Gov. Wike

Copied as seen.

@MrAbuSidiq attributed the tweet to a source on Facebook, whereas the source did not include any link in the original post that can be used to attribute the statement to Governor Wike.

Atiku Media Office, tweeting with the handle @AtikuOrg, said in a series of tweets that:

‘It has come to the notice of the Atiku Media Office that there is a statement purportedly attributed to His Excellency @atiku Abubakar currently making the rounds on social media.

We wish to state for the records that the purported statement aimed at pitching the Waziri Adamawa against the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, PDP NEC, PDP Governors and stakeholders of the PDP party is contrived and baseless.

For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar enjoys excellent relationship with Prince Uche Secondus, the Party’s NEC and all serving PDP Governors and stakeholders of the party.’

When confronted on Twitter by the media office of the former vice president for distributing false statements, Sidiq responded in a tweet saying:

‘… Again leave it to Wike to deny. The statement was attributed to Wike, not Atiku.’

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Atiku is greatest fear of APC, Fani-Kayode says

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, has said that former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar is the greatest fear of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election.

According to report, he mentioned this in a tweet on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

Fani-Kayode also claimed that APC party members were firing shots at the former vice president for this reason.

He specifically stated that a few APC governors were making hate speech because they are deeply hurt by Atiku’s exit from the party since last month.

Fani-Kayode’s tweet read:

‘Judging by the way in which APC governors like Nasir El Rufai and Bello Masari are firing shots at @atiku two things are clear: firstly that his exit from their dying party has hurt them deeply and secondly that their greatest fear is an @atiku bid for the Presidency in 2019.’

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2018 will be better than 2017, Adeboye declares

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has said 2018 is going to be a better year for Nigerians than the outgoing year.

He made the declaration in Osogbo, the capital of Osun, during the Christmas visitation and ‘Let’s Go A Fishng’ programme organised by the church, report says.

Citing the book of John 3:16, the pastor urged everybody to love Jesus Christ who is the solution to the problems facing the world.

Pastor Adeboye said:

‘It is imperative for everybody to love Jesus, who is the solution to myriad of challenges, confronting the world.

Nigerians should be optimistic as the new year will bring favour, better than 2017.

Jesus Christ died for everybody, it is therefore imperative for everybody to love Jesus, who is the solution to myriad of challenges, confronting the world.’

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Better days lie ahead, Buhari assures in Christmas message

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, in his Christmas message to Nigerians, said he was deeply convinced that Nigeria will soon overcome the various challenges that she currently faced as a nation.

The message was relayed to journalists on Saturday, December 23, 2017, in Abuja.

In his message, he described Christmas as a season of peace, joy, healing, hope, and fulfilment.

He urged Nigerians to use the moment to appreciate and pray for the members of the armed forces who are fighting daily to keep the country safe and secure, report says.

The message reads:

‘I am deeply convinced that better days lie ahead for us as a nation as we make progress on all the major fronts where we have set our energies to surmount the challenges. I wish you all Happy Christmas celebrations.

The Holy Book describes Christmas as a festival of peace, joy, healing, hope and fulfilment. It kindles great expectations in the heart, irrespective of the challenges of the moment.

As we celebrate this Yuletide season, let us devote some time to pray and appreciate the sacrifices of members of our armed services to keep our nation safe and secure.

By the same token, and keeping with the spirit of the season, our gallant troops serving in the frontlines in the fight against insurgency; those wounded, lying in the hospital, as well as civilians who have suffered the brunt of evil and wicked elements these past years, deserve our fervent goodwill and sustained prayers.

The personal fortitude of these individuals will continue to inspire us to victory as we turn the tide against the enemy and annihilate those who work against the unity of our nation.’

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