Following last month’s Synagogue Church of All Nation’s tragedy that killed about 200 people, with several foreign nationals involved, many have been forced to ask questions about the increasing infiltration of foreigners into Nigerian churches.
They asked what would make foreigners to abandon churches in their countries and come in large number to worship places in Nigeria.
Before the tragedy, Synagogue, a church located in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos was beehive of activities with Christians from Ghana, Togo, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia turning the place to another “Jerusalem” in Africa.
This question is not out of place considering the fact that former Zambian President, Fredrick Chiluba, visited Synagogue few years back and about 115 South Africans were among victims of the collapsed church building of September 6.
That is not all, the annual Holy Ghost Congress and Shiloh put together by the Redeem Christian Church of God and Winners Chapel respectively have become international events that attract different nationals and leaders from across the globe.
Some of the popular questions asked are:
– What makes Nigerian churches so special?
– Do they have a special way of communicating with God?
– Are these foreign nationals getting something special from the churches?
– And Are Nigerian churches miracle inclined?
Determined to get answers to these questions, we talked to some people on the topic.
According to those we spoke to, the influx of foreigners to Nigerian churches is a reflection of the country’s impact on the rest of the continent.
Emmanuel Odebunmi, a business man, said: “It is Nigerians’ power of persuasion, irrespective of what they do that makes their products sell and that’s what makes them a hit even in religious circles.
“I was in Liberia and Zambia last year. There Nigerian-owned churches are, arguably, the largest especially in Liberia which is fiercely religious.
“While Zambia is host to churches with origins from Nigeria and a number of them have large followings.
“Such is the popularity of their brand that many ailing Zambians have flown to Nigeria to seek further healing.”
Koko Kwabena, a Ghanaian student, said on Skype chat, that although there are cases of abuse in Nigerian churches, a global phenomenon, there are several innocent and God fearing religious leaders who not only take their oaths seriously, but are involved in extra work of delivering, healing, counselling and reintegrating those who have been victimized, into the church body and society as a whole.