” I Need A private To Jet To Spread The word of God Around The World And Make It Back To Ota In Time For Sunday Service”
One of the world’s richest pastors David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel has told Reuters that despite being listed as the richest Pastor in Nigeria and (with a $150 M fortune), he and the Church should not be subjected to paying tax as they were doing charity work.
A Forbes list published in 2011 listed Oyedepo along with Believer’s Love World’s Pastor Chris Oyakhilome as the top 2 wealthiest in the country nay Africa, while TB Joshua who has recently been in the news after a part of his Synagogue collapsed killing several people- some of whom had come from South Africa to hear his preaching.
Another list by an American website whose authenticity cannot be verified also listed 5 Nigerian pastors in the top 10 richest men of God globally with America’s TD Jakes leading the pack.
It is well-known that Nigeria’s pentecostal Churches turnover a chunky balance sheet yearly, but no one actually knows how much the Churches or their pastors are really worth because the Churches are listed as Non- Profit organisationas, hence any activity of its members also fall under this category.
Despite the wealth, Oyedepo argues that the because the Church is self-sufficient, the institution should be exempted from fulfilling any statutory obligations.
“There is no single government input on this premises,” he said. “We supply our water, we make our roads, then you … say: ‘Let’s tax them’. For what?”
He goes further to explain, “For me, to have fortune means someone who has what he needs at any point in time. I don’t see myself as having $150 million stacked up somewhere. Whatever way they found their figures, I am only able to say I am blessed by the Lord,” in response to Forbes estimation of his personal fortune.
Oyedepo’s Winner’s Chapel is a vast empire which according to the Church’s corporate affairs department employs up to 18, 000 people in Nigeria alone with business interests serving the community of worshippers which includes Schools, Restaurants and a publishing house for Christian self-help books.
The Church also has about 5, 000 branches in Nigeria alone with an estimated 1, 000 more globally including a thriving UK network. This is why the Pastor insists that owning a Private Jet is the only way he can spread the Ministry around the world and still be back in time for the Sunday service in Otta.