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 extraordinary world of the millionaire preachers. Watch the 23 mins video for shocking revelation.
Watch the video or you may read the video transcripts below.
By promoting the dream of escaping poverty, they have turned their churches into corporations, which are changing the face of Christianity.
Every Sunday millions of Nigerians crowd into thousands of competing churches. The team visits one church in Lagos run by Dr Sign Fireman, an up-and-coming preacher who is attempting to break into the big time.
They find 2000 people at an event billed as the Burial of Satan. After a rock star entrance, Dr Fireman begins his service by exorcising the demons in his congregation.
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. Over 20 men and women, including some who worked for Dr Fireman, have the evil spirits inside them expelled.
Sick members of the congregation come forward for miracle healing. Dr Fireman claims to have God-given powers that can change people's lives, from raising people from the dead to curing earache. One man tells the crowd he is crippled and blind. Dr Fireman then channels his powers to help the man walk and see again. Yet, earlier the team has seen the man walking unaided.
At the close of the event the crowd swarms forward and throws money at Dr Fireman's feet. There is so much cash it has to be collected in dustbins. Rhodes talks to one worshipper who says that those who give money are repaid by God with good fortune.
Some Nigerian Pentecostal Christians believe giving 10 per cent of their income will bring God's blessing into their lives, their families and their businesses. With the service over, Dr Fireman leaves in his yellow Hummer 4x4.
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. To get more people to join his church, Dr Fireman believes portraying the right image is essential and shows the trappings of wealth his church has brought him. He travels everywhere with his bodyguards in one of his three yellow luxury cars with a combined worth of more than £150,000.
Dr Fireman's business model is not a new one. Most of the richest pastors in Nigeria use similar methods of expansion. The team meets Pastor Chris Okotie, the fifth richest pastor in the country, who had hits in the 80s with records such as Secret Love and Show Me Your Backside.
His church, House of God, attracts Nigerian film stars, celebrities and musicians. Pastor Okotie has used his power base to run for the last three presidential elections, believing the principles of prosperity preaching will provide a better future for Nigeria.
Local journalist Simon Ateba says it's almost impossible to establish their true wealth. Simon takes the team to the headquarters of Christ Embassy. He claims that two years ago when he tried to take photographs of the building, security guards dragged him inside and beat him until he fainted. Soon after he tells this story, security guards drag Rhodes into the building by his belt. He escapes unscathed.
The team visits Dr Fireman. He's busy in a music studio recording a new song as he expands his business into the music industry. Rhodes asks him how he can square his wealth and celebrity status with the teachings and life of Jesus.
Dr Fireman says that God wants him to be rich and denies that Jesus had a humble life. 'Jesus was rich and had an accountant who followed him around,' he tells Rhodes.
Headlines Newsview all
A Saudi Arabian billionaire is planning on giving his entire $32billion (£20bn) fortune to charity. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the ... Full story
According to Leadership, the assassination of former first lady Patience Jonathan's ex-security aide had to do with his previous job with the presidency. DSP Tamuno Igbomie, ... Full story
Rate this article
- Video Footage Of 2nd Jos Bomb Blast
- Listen To Leaked Call Of Jim Iyke Cursing Out Emma Agu
- Wale Expected Back In Nigeria Soon To Release A Track With Olamide
Check Out The Trailer Of ‘Mum, Dad Meet Sam’ Starring Joseph Benjamin ...
One of the most respected comedians in Nigeria, Ali Baba was a year older some days back and he was hosted to various parties by ...
Fuel scarcity, Tuesday resurfaced in Abuja, with long queues at almost all the petrol stations, as motorists faced slight difficulties in buying the commodity. This was ...
The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday lowered the naira peg to 196.95 against the dollar from 196.90 it set last week. This made it the ...
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has elected Clive Omoniyi as the Chairman of the Nigeria LNG branch of the association. A ...
The silent rule of responsibility has always hammered on the fact that, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ and this takes us straight ...
Enterprise Bank is a bank with few branches located across Nigeria, meanwhile, it’s obvious why they don’t have branches abroad. A bank whom can’t secure or ...
Former Portsmouth and Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari is set to depart AC Milan following termination of his contract by mutual consent. The Ghanaian joined the ... Full story
Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman insists the club are yet to receive any “serious” offer for Morgan Schneiderlin this summer. The midfielder has been linked with a ... Full story
Georgina Onuoha, an actress in Nollywood, is delighted to be back to Nigeria after travelling to the United States of America (USA) with her children. She ...