There’s a mad rush for African pastors to acquire private jets
Should the men of God buy private jets while congregants languish in abject poverty
Prophet TB Joshua now owns the most expensive private jet in Africa
Listen to Thorny Issues on Continental Radio Station and get reactions
Recently, there has been a growing trend of mega rich African pastors queuing up to acquire private jets. It is a fast going phenomenon that has sent tongues wagging in bewilderment. Many observers are of the opinion that the acquisition of private jets by men of God is fast becoming some sort of competition among self-proclaimed prophets.
Early this year, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering in Malawi defended his decision to purchase the third private jet by saying ‘I am what God says..I was born a winner’.
Unlike some American pastors, the Pope with over a billion followers, does not own a fancy private jet, but charters Alitalia flights just like any other ordinary commuter.
Come to think of it, by the very nature of their vocation, a man of God is supposed to (according to their vows) live a life of self abnegation. Yet the same pastors who preach charity to their congregants own private jets, live in enviable mansions with a fleet of flash cars.
The Nigerian self-proclaimed popular televangelist, Prophet TB Joshua of the Synagogue Church of all Nations is not only the most controversial and powerful prophet and philanthropist, but he also owns the most expensive private jet among all African preachers. The aircraft costs a whopping $60 million and requires an annual maintenance fee of $3 million.
According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, TB Joshua reportedly took possession of the expensive Gulfstream G550 aircraft in April 2015, a few months after his mega church collapsed in Lagos, killing 116 worshippers.
Elsewhere in Europe or the United States, the collapse of Prophet TB Joshua’s church would have been grounds for his arrest. He would also have been charged for breach of health and safety and with manslaughter, but he walked free from police interrogation.
TB Joshua is not the only super rich prophets who owns a private jet, but he is the latest to join the growing league of miracle and prosperity priests who own private jets in Africa.
Only last year, a private jet belonging to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, founder of the Word of Bible Church was allegedly involved in money laundering as a stack of 10 million dollars in cash was found on the jet, which Pastor Oristsejafor claimed to have hired out. The plane was impounded by the South African government and president Mohammed Buhari of Nigeria promised to investigate the incident.
Should the men of God acquire private jets? This question was put to Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, a Nigerian Clergyman and pastor of the Kingsway International Christian Centre in London.
Though Pastors may make their case for acquiring private jets, it is not rocket science to know that most worshippers in Africa live below the breadline while church leaders bask in wealth and prosperity.
The irony is that, while pastors preach the need for Christians to live charitable lives, they themselves swim in affluence, making a mockery of their vocation. It is like telling worshippers do as I say not as I do.
Pastors Ashimolowo’s views plus the views of African vis-à-vis the men of God buying private jets while congregants live in abject poverty can all be heard on the programme ‘Thorny Issues in Africa: Why Pastors own private jets’ on Continental Radio Station. You can also listen to the programme on podcast by licking here.