The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has received scathing criticisms from activists who reacted angrily to the manner in which the church is raising funds for its multi-billion naira auditorium.
At the just concluded 61st annual convention at the expansive Redemption Camp, along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Enoch Adeboye, the church’s General Overseer, announced plans to build a new auditorium stretching three kilometres in length and breadth.
On the eve of final day of the week long programme, Mr. Adeboye appealed for donations for the new auditorium which would quadruple the church’s present auditorium which has an estimated capacity of about one million people.
“We need N1 billion from ten people. If you are one of them, please see my personal Secretary after we finish today,” Mr. Adeboye announced to the congregation.
“We also need N100 million from those who can afford it, if you are in that category. Please see my personal Secretary as well.
“Nonetheless, we need everyone’s involvement. If you can afford N50 million, N20 million, N5 million, N1 million to as low as N100, kindly make sure you participate.”
After the announcement, Mr. Adeboye sought to know the members who were “willing to join hands with our Father in the Lord to build a new auditorium to God’s glory.”
Debo Adeniran, Executive Director of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), said there was no way someone without a criminal record could afford such a donation.
“It is most inappropriate because there is no where the progenitor of such a faith did such a thing. Jesus Christ never cajoled people to make unwarranted donation to the church,” said Mr. Adeniran.
“Nobody in one lifetime with no criminal record can donate such an amount,” Mr. Adeniran added.
Abiodun Aremu, Secretary of Joint Action Front (JAF), said that the church is already neck deep in corruption and vanity.
“Church leaders are fraternizing with corrupt political leaders. The church is being used as an agent of exploiting the poor.
“When we call for a revolution, one of the institutions where the anger of the people would be visited is the church,” Mr. Aremu added.
When, on Saturday, the RCCG’s General Overseer asked those willing to donate to indicate their interest, hundreds of hands went up in the air.
The church divided prospective donors into three groups – Category A Brethren would pay N1 billion; Category B Brethren would pay N100 million; and Category C Brethren would pay N50 million and below.
Categories A and B are expected to meet with Mr. Adeboye’s Secretary.
Church members and supporters of Mr. Adeboye defended such mode of raising funds for a church project stating that the donations were voluntary.
Some of the church’s pastors approached by PREMIUM TIMES declined comments.
“I don’t think I would like to contribute to it,” one of the pastors said.
In his Jimi Disu’s blog, the journalist stated that such a method of raising money to finance church’s projects sets a “dangerous trend.”
“I should not bother myself with how a church raises money to finance projects but a dangerous trend is being set and we are made to believe if we cannot ‘donate’ a certain amount of money, we cannot see Daddy G.O’s personal Secretary,” said Mr. Disu.
“Such ‘privilege’ is for those that can donate handsomely for the work of God,” he added.
Mr. Adeboye is renowned for some of his ingenious ways of raising funds to finance projects in the RCCG.
Last year, he called for a fresh set of “covenant partners” after the life span of the old set, entered in 2002, expired.
Mr. Adeboye said that the life span of the new set of partners would be for three years.
“I thank God for all my partners and I say, thank you for the past ten years.
“Now the Lord says to me, the new set of partners will be for only three years. He said after three years, we can review,” Mr. Adeboye said.
The 2012 set of “covenant partners” were divided into ten groups – the lowest cadre, Group One would contribute N100 monthly, while the top most, Group Ten, would dole out N2 million and above every month.
Mr. Adeniran said that religion being the opium of the masses, people would be hoodwinked into believing that what the pastor said is from God.
During last week’s convention, Mr. Adeniran said that a member of his staff lost his 65 year old mother to a stampede that ensued during a worship session.
“Adeboye is fond of discussing miracles in his church, he never discusses misfortunes.
“It is a lopsided ministry, a ministry that cajoles people to bring what they have to the church,” Mr. Adeniran added.