Monday, June 06, 2005


Dearest Lovers of Nigeria and those that have dealt with her,
Pasted Below is a report of what happened to Benny Hinn Ministry April 29th - May 1 2005. This is of great interest. It should give you pain but it should also spur us all to think and respond. If we do not respond, we invariably say to a Nation... GUILTY! CAN WE HOWEVER AFFORD NOT TO JUDGE RIGHTLY? I am making this available because I know that sooner or later questions will arise and friends will ask me, "Sayo did you know about this?" So before the questions start coming, here is the information and here are thinking points for us to add or respond to!

The ethics of financial interaction between the North and the South is critical to this situation. Can we as leaders of the South - in good conscience - continue to accept the fund of the North? The World renowned Haggai Institute actively discourages this and says No! Raise the Fund you need internally!!

Can we however truly justify an absolute dichotomy of North/South Funding relationships? Does the present day global realities allow for this? Are current relationships of nations and other critical entities not defined as “interactive networks?" How can there be interaction without the basic ingredient and catalyst of human interactive exchanges? Can we affirm and encourage interactivity san financial networking?

No reasonable business person - no matter the scale - will even suggest localization today. That which used to be totally local is now incontestably global! The remotest villages of Africa and Asia are now irretrievably and irreversibly linked with the major cities of Europe and America. Can we minimize this reality and promote insularity - especially financial insularity?

If we promote the insularity of ministries in the global South, can we neutralize the reality of citizens of the global South who are fiercely contesting for a firm space in the global North? Can we minimize the reality of Immigrant Professionals who are a real Force teeming within the cities of the West and often forming the bulwark of many economies of the Southern Hemisphere? If we face and accept this reality, can we then realistically isolate the Ministers of the Gospel from Global South in the process? We need to note that these ministers are oftentimes the moderators of this flow of Fund? Can we stop them from being affected by its impact?

Finally how do we deal with regression into foolishness that often characterizes relationships between Ministers of the Global South and the Leaders of the West? How do we stop "the Safari of Faith?" This is a situation where Western Minister comes to Africa looking for Photo opportunities with Crowds that have been promised but are often not delivered? This is a situation where the film clips of crowds in their thousands (or Millions as in the case of Benny Hinn) have replaced the old "missionary stories of savages!" How do we stop the so called successful ministers in Africa from prostituting our people in the name of CRUSADES...?

I will appreciate answers and inputs from all my Western, Asian and African brothers, I will share your answers with all to whom I am sending this letter (and there are a few!) But before I end I must make some confessions to you. I have had many of my Western friends visit my country with me. They have shared with me in giving and receiving of money (I have never received a million dollars though!) Funds from these gracious servants have been used – with a lot more funds from Nigeria – to publish books, run conferences, help the needy to start businesses (that are now fully owned by others than myself - I own nothing!) etc… I have never lived off these funds designated for ministry, I have never planned our outreaches based solely on these funds, I am still poor even though I have had more than 50 Western Minister friends visit me in my home, I am rich in my calling to the people because I have many Nigerian and other African friends supporting me in my work. I am blessed by both, my network of interactive relationships! Can you get the gist? I hope you have!

There are many servants of God INSIDE NIGERIA THAT HAVE NOT BOWED THEIR KNEES TO MAMMON... I spoke to one of them this morning (May 29, 2005). He leads a nationwide ministry, he coordinates hundreds of ministers and volunteers, he has strong linkages with major ministries in America and he visits that country regularly (he will be in America on invitation June 2005). He is a postgraduate degree holder (M Sc), he said to me today; “Friend, my wife and I have chosen to wash clothes for others so that we can put food on the table for our children and I can be free to preach the gospel!” Himself and his wife washes clothes at night and morning hours – with their hand, no washing machine, it is expensive and beyond their reach ($600.00). He irons the clothes at night of the next day and gives his customers a three days turn around. He does this so that his mid morning can be free for study and his evening hours can be free for ministry trips! That is my friend, the Soldier of the Cross, in a nation where some other ministers play funny games with a Million Dollars Cash!

Please let us continue praying for men and women of integrity & faith inside Nigeria. A lot of them suffer terribly for their faith. Let us pray that the Lord will lift up their horns like the horn of the unicorn... let us also pray that the Lord will heal & purge the church scene in Nigeria, that the true story of the true church in Nigeria will come out. Please believe with us that Nigeria indeed is a blessed nation of holy people... It is true, Hallelujah!


strong>Scandal in God's House!
May 15, 2005 Posted to the web May 17, 2005
Sam Eyoboka

Benny Hinn's $1m tears top pastors apart
PFN raises probe panel

WHEN Charismatic Warri-based preacher, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, took over the leadership of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, as national president in February after its eighth biennial conference, he made a pledge to sanitize the fellowship and rid it of evil-minded charlatans. He convened the first executive council meeting of the body in April. After the meeting, he addressed newsmen during which he reiterated his desire to flush out all elements capable of bringing the reputation of pentecostalism in Nigeria to disrepute. That was before the so much talked about Benny Hinn Healing Crusade that took place at the Redemption Camp on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from April 29 to May 1. The aftermath of that spiritual exercise has now presented the acid test of Oritsejafor's exccutive council as the leadership of the PFN, comprising eminent men of God, including Dr. Wilson Badejo of the Foursquare Gospel Church as vice president and Bishop Joseph Ojo of Calvary Kingdom Church as the national general secretary, has on its hands a case that might attract the attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Claims and counter-claims of financial impropriety concerning the crusade were flagged off by the American evangelist, Benny Hinn, who voiced his anger by alleging that his ministry spent $4 million on a crusade that could have been conducted with less than $2 million.

Attendance in crusade
He was said to have left the country in anger last Sunday night instead of last Monday morning he was scheduled to leave, saying, "I am not happy at all. We expected a larger crowd here because we were told that we would have millions of people in attendance in this crusade. This crusade that cost our ministry $4 million should have cost just $2 million."

Hinn was quoted as having further said: "We have made a mistake, which I will never allow again. We will never make this kind of mistake again. We made the mistake because I was misinformed." His annoyance stemmed from the fact that the local organising committee had given him the impression that the event was going to attract a daily attendance of over six million persons and 18 million on the whole at the end of the exercise. The three-day event was said to have attracted far less than that, a situation some members blamed on the fuel crisis in Lagos at the time and poor publicity about the crusade itself.

The second thing that caught the fancy of PFN national executive was the allegation by members of the Local Organising Committee that the impression they had from the outset was that the crusade was self-financing without any assistance from Benny Hinn Ministry (BHM). To them, they were made to understand that they were doing a patriotic duty to help heal a sick nation.

Hinn's allegation on the altar penultimate Saturday that his ministry actually committed $4 million to the project and that he allegedly released $1 million to the national co-ordinator of the crusade, Bishop Olanrewaju Obembe, was a surprise to some committee leaders and members who claimed to have been starved of funds throughout the exercise. According to sources close to the Central Working Committee, CWC, it was based on the claim that the crusade was actually a self-sponsoring project that they went ahead to raise funds locally and they got about N30 million. The CWC levied N1,000 per head for the Ministers' Conference built into the crusade and even attempted to charge same for the accreditation of journalists to cover the occasion.

Some sub-committee members, who volunteered to speak on the issue, said they smelt trouble right from the very beginning when there was bickering as to who should head what committee or who takes over what, though no monies had been released as at early March for a crusade that would attract six million people with half of that number expected to make a decision for Christ.

Rising from a crucial closed door meeting last Wednesday, the National Executive Council of the PFN instituted a high powered committee to probe the veracity of alleged financial impropriety and ascertain the extent of involvement of any of its officials at the Hinn National Healing Crusade. Hinn, who openly claimed to have spent $4 million for the crusade, was visibly angry at the sparse population that attended the 3-day crusade. According to him, he decided to bring in high profile equipment that had never been used anywhere in expectation of the huge turnout only to see a scanty crowd while some of the boards were left with nobody watching them.

Summon: Embarrassed by newspaper reports of the scandal, the National Executive of the PFN and members of the National Central Working Committee summoned all the parties involved in the crusade to a crucial meeting at the national headquarters with a view to ascertaining their individual and collective roles in the matter. At the end of the closed door session, the NEC, through its president, Oritsejafor, announced the institution of a fact-finding committee to unveil the truth about the claims and counter-claims of parties to the dispute. He told the nation that the committee, whose membership he did not disclose, has three weeks within which to submit its report to the national body.

The PFN leadership is aware that crusades of this nature had almost always attracted controversies especially over money rather than the souls to be won during the crusades. And that has thrown up several questions as to what motivates Nigerian men of God to invite foreigners for crusades here? Anywhere you turn, the answer you get is distressing and the challenge therefore before the PFN is to restore its credibility and arrest once and for all the influence of Mammon in the Church. This is a dangerous signal as the Church is gradually giving a lethal weapon to her arch enemies to nail it.

The national co-ordinator of the crusade, Obembe, who is the president of the Lagos State PFN, had told a national newspaper that the Local Organising Committee received a total of $1 million from BHM for the local content of the crusade. This claim is, however, being contested by members of the CWC of the crusade who alleged that the bishop did not disburse adequate funds to them for the organisation of the programme. According to sources close to the CWC, Obembe uptill early March allegedly told members that BHM had not released any money to him.

Self-Sponsoring: They further alleged that the national coordinator told them the crusade was a self-sponsoring one since Nigeria was not in the original plan of Hinn for the year. It was on the strength of that argument that the CWC allegedly went to town to source for money and was able to raise about N30 million which they started to work with until Obembe started to release funds allegedly in trickles. Members of the CWC had asked the national co-ordinator at a stormy meeting last Monday that if indeed he got $1 million from BHM which translated to about N150 million and they raised N30 million locally, what happened to the money. They alleged that the failure of the crusade was largely due to the paucity of publicity for the programme rather than the fuel scarcity during the period. According to a source, the breakdown of the expenses incurred by BHM shows that it spent a total of N398.58 million or $3 million on shipping of technical equipment, roofing systems, accommodation for BHM members and high definition recording equipment for the 3-day programme. The balance of one million dollar or about N150.86 million was spent by the CWC, while donations from Nigerian churches amounting to about N30 million subsided the other expenditure not covered by BHM. These facts were revealed by Hinn himself before jetting out last Sunday night in anger and were confirmed by Obembe.

According to the American televange list, the equipment used for the crusade including high definition equipment cameras that had never been used in any of his crusades before. "Nigeria is the first place," he said, adding that they decided to invest that much on such sophisticated equipment because "as a ministry, we do not believe in second class things where God is concerned. We usually go for the very best." He revealed that his last crusade in the Philippines attracted three million persons while the one in India pulled a crowd of seven million people, stressing that they had expected a daily attendance of six million worshippers in Nigeria. Apparently because of the high expectation and his expressed love for the nation, BHM decided to bring to Nigeria those equipment as a special gift to the country. "They are the most expensive in the market and they have not been used anywhere else in the world," he said "but we decided to test them here in Nigeria."

Faulty Target: Although the crowd in the Lagos crusade was below the six million targeted by the planning committee, the American evangelist expressed satisfaction over the outstanding miracle of one little boy who was instantly healed of deafness, saying it is worth the joy of a life by Almighty God through Christ. Also speaking on the same issue, the vice president of BHM, Rev. John Wilson, said the actual amount spent locally through the Local Organising Committee and Benny Hinn staff was one million dollars. But Obembe said despite the cloud thrown over the crusade expenses, there is a detailed audited statement of income and expenditure. He revealed that all the equipment shipped by BHM had been shipped back except for some unremovable equipment which were left behind for the purpose of future crusades.
Such unmovable equipment include barricades and security lights which were part of the measures by the organisers to ensure safety of lives and property during the programme.

Speaking on the scandal, a member of the prayer sub-committee of the crusade, Evangelist John Deby Edukugho, said he was not surprised at the turn of events, because "many pastors are not crusade people, most men of God in Nigeria have turned crusades into business. As an international evangelist who has been involved in crusades, I understand the mentality of the church in Nigeria, there is a spell of corruption when it comes to the issue of crusades."
He blamed the situation on the penchant of another international evangelist to bring tonnes of dollars which easily corrupt the Nigerian pastors to the extent that they fight themselves. He claimed that local evangelists often complained about the international evangelist's corrupting influence because he doesn't care what it takes. Said he: "Right now, crusade business is the latest business in the church today. When you propose to organise a crusade, the people who come to work with you, first of all, are interested in how much they want to make out of it and not the souls that will be won. That in itself has defeated the essence of the entire thing.
"A crusade is a commission to win souls for Christ; it is a divine order for everybody to be involved and those days, it is the church that organised crusades and invited the evangelists to come with all expenses paid," Edukugho said, adding that crusades normally involve three things, a burden for a change, consistent back-up prayer and money for logistics". He stressed that the local churches would be the final beneficiary of the souls that will be won and therefore make every preparation for its success.

"We were told from the beginning that the Benny Hinn Crusade was a self-sponsoring one. They said there was no money and yet today, they are giving figures. I saw this drama coming. First of all, it was wrong for any man to tell you he was going to deliver six million people," he said. He argued that that was too mechanical, stating that it was actually supposed to be a spiritual exercise. These were indications I had that told me there was trouble coming some where," Edukugho, who was visibly angered, maintained, pointing out that it was wrong to assume that six million people will come and that three million would give their lives to Christ, "as if people have become commodities you take to the market. Because what that means is that out of every two that will attend the crusade, one is an unbeliever."
He called on the national leadership of the PFN to urgently set up a Crusade Monitoring Committee made up of experienced evangelists who are knowledgeable enough to organise hitch-free crusades that will be devoid of controversies. Crusades, according to him, are by far too important to God to be left in the hands of pastors whose pre-occupation is holding yearly conventions and thanksgiving ceremonies. The pastor explained that what is happening today in the society is a reflection of what is happening in the Church of God. "Is anybody still wondering why President Obasanjo said CAN my foot? It is because pastors are now more corrupt than politicians", he added.