A civil rights organization, Anti-Corruption Network, ACN has expressed concern over the extravagant lifestyles of Nigerian Pastors, stressing that the supposed men of God should stop monetising their consciences and seek salvation.
The group is also disturbed at the high fees being charged by private Universities founded by Pastors saying the church must wake up from its slumber and make the fees affordable for members of the congregation whose tithes were used for establishing the institutions.
The Executive Secretary of ACN and former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye in a statement entitled: “Private Jets, Higher fees and Nigerian Pastors” issued in Abuja said “we should stop deceiving ourselves because we cannot deceive God.”
He said, “Men of God should stop monetizing their consciences and return to their first love which is salvation. They should stop being materialistic because the Biblical injunction is that we should seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all other things will be added unto it.
“The men of God don’t want any other person to talk about them. But Jesus Christ Himself asked His followers: ‘Who do men say I am?’; that means Jesus Christ was ready to be debated; talked about and analyzed. So men of God should also not criticise those who analyze them and their activities. Again, the Bible said, test every spirit and hold unto that which is true. This means that it is our responsibility to check them.”
According to him, school fees in most supposedly mission schools in Nigeria are “mouth-watering and not for the poor.”
Melaye said, ” Bowen University charges N650,000 per semester, Covenant University N640,000 per semester, Benson Idahosa N500,000 per semester, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) N450,000 per semester, Ajayi Crowther University N350,000 per semester, Madonna University N350,000 per semester.
“All of these universities were built from the tithes and offerings of the common worshipers who obviously now cannot afford to send their wards to these schools they built with their sweat. There are all manners of offerings in our churches today, all to establish a man and catapult his ego by purchasing a private jet with monies from innocent worshipers.”
The ex-legislator also accused some Pastors of using Malachi 3:6-12 as an instrument for extortion and self aggrandizement.
He said, “Warren Buffet who owns the company that produces these price jets fly around the world in commercial airlines. What absurdity imported into the House of God! The Church must wake up from its slumber of ‘orishirishi’ seeds.
“The congregation is advised to sow a seed, special offering seed, first fruit seed, redemption seed, thanksgiving seed, harvest seed, tithes, pastor‚Äôs birthday seed, church building seeds, evangelism seed, father‚Äôs day seed, mother‚Äôs day seed, children‚Äôs day seed, pastor‚Äôs cake seed, seed for the poor, olive oil seed, books seed, Compact Disc and DVD seeds, etc.
“All these seeds germinate to become luxurious houses, cars, servicing of body guards, women and purchasing of private jets, while the donors perish in abject poverty and penury. Their wards are in public schools while government and oil thieves and politicians send their children to schools built by the barber, bricklayer, mechanic, hair dresser, tomato seller, civil servants, artisans and unemployed.”
Melaye also called on God to “have mercy on these so-called Men of God, whom we now address as Daddy and their wives as Mummy not minding their ages.”
“They have Different Personal Assistants including the one who carries the Bible. Will Christ find Christianity on earth when He appears? Time to stop deceiving ourselves because we cannot deceive God. Seek first the Kingdom of and every other thing is jara. Those who prepare for their heavenly home and have genuine calling will not be carried away by materialism.‚Äù