- Says self-acclaimed Pastor’s get-rich quick antics runs counter to Igbo values, against State laws
The Anambra State government on Monday condemned the activities of a self-acclaimed Pastor, Onyeze Jesus, who is laying claims of changing the economic status of his adherents by magical means, saying that it runs counter to “the industry, knowledge, ingenuity, perseverance, a high savings rate and an infectious business drive, all combined to enable them to achieve tremendous success in various fields.”
Saying that success is not through any overnight sensation nor through magic, the Anambra State government regretted that the same Onyeze Jesus, who has been advertising in the social media for adherents, “throws a lot of Nigeria’s currency notes into the river and compels his adult followers, both male and female, to bath naked in the river and records them on video which he distributes gleefully to all manner of people through the Internet and other means.”
The statement, signed by Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, reads: “The Anambra State Government is in possession of some videos produced by one person who goes by the name of Onyeze Jesus based in Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, where he not only claims to change the economic status of his adherents by magical means but also throws a lot of Nigeria’s currency notes into the river and compels his adult followers, both male and female, to bath naked in the river and records them on video which he distributes gleefully to all manner of people through the Internet and other means.
“The State Government is appalled at the conduct of this man. Anambra people are famous throughout the world for their industry, knowledge, ingenuity, perseverance, a high savings rate and an infectious business drive, all combined to enable them to achieve tremendous success in various fields. Their success is not overnight nor through magic.
“Onyeze Jesus promotes superstition and strife in society. By telling his gullible and brainwashed followers that their misfortune is caused by family members, relatives, friends and business associates through magical powers, he is fomenting serious troubles and instigating eternal enmity in various places and businesses. Some of these troubles can lead to physical fights, bodily injuries and even deaths.
“By throwing plenty of naira notes into the river regularly as part of sacrifice to the river goddess and filming it and distributing the film to the whole world, he has brought Anambra State into global ridicule and, worse, gregariously committed a criminal offence. Burning or destroying the naira through any means is an offence criminalized by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007, and the offender is liable to imprisonment.
“By forcing his disciples to have a bath naked in a river, then film the naked adults and distribute the videos across the globe, Onyeze Jesus is guilty of denying his followers the right to self-dignity and of promoting indecent exposure, which is a crime under the Nigerian law.
“We have received reports from former disciples that Onyeze Jesus has swindled them of their hard earned resources, that is, all the promises and assurances of turning them into overnight millionaires have proved to be fraudulent. The state Government is looking into the claims. If we find merit in the claims, he will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
“The people and Government of Anambra State are irrevocably committed to fundamental rights of freedom of worship and freedom of association as well as freedom of conscience. However, observing these freedoms should not lead to a situation where heinous crimes will be carried out with impunity, whether in the name of religion or not.
“Anambra State is a modern society governed by the rule of law, civilized values and proper conduct. The government will not stand akimbo watching while an individual or a handful of individuals flagrantly abuse its values and flout its laws.
“We wish to thank numerous individuals and organizations alarmed at the conduct and claims of Onyeze Jesus and his cohorts and complained accordingly to the appropriate authorities. We assure them and millions of our people that an appropriate action is being taken.”