It has been over a week since members of the Word of Life Bible Church in Nigeria presented a private jet to Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor, founder of the church and head of the Christian Association in Nigeria.
What was meant as a gift of love and appreciation from the minister’s flock has been greeted with widespread controversy from many Nigerians who criticise the growing number of incredibly wealthy men of God.
The controversial multimillion naira private jet put the CAN president in the league of other clerics who now own their own means of air travel. The gift was given in celebration of the pastor’s birthday and 40th year on the pulpit. Dignitaries, including Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan attended the lavish event where a 10-seater bombardier/challenger 601 plane was given to him.
Unconfirmed reports put the cost of the aviation bird (excluding fuelling, hangar charges and pilots’ fees) as ranging between N2Billion and N8Billion, depending on the age, model and fittings.
The gift proved divisive, not only among Nigerians who argued over just how rich a pastor from a struggling economy should be, but also amongst some of Oritsejafor’s colleagues, more notably Pastor Tunde Bakare, former CPC Vice Presidential candidate. Reports say a war of words ensued between Bakare’s camp and CAN supporters.
For the Nigerians who support the pastor’s right to lead a wealthy lifestyle, they claim a man of God, according to Biblical principles, should be blessed by God with riches.
On the other hand, Oritsejafor’s detractors say the man of God and other wealthy preachers make the church seem like “business as usual”. It is especially hard for some to swallow given the level of poverty and corruption in Nigeria. One commenter in the video below said: “The only reason I have a problem with it is that some of these guys church members are living in abject poverty.”