By Kunle Oderemi
NIGERIA risks losing about N8 billion foreign inflow annually should founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, Pastor T.B. Joshua makes good his treat to relocate his church to Israel, the founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr Fredrick Fasehun, has said.
He spoke at a press conference in Okota, Lagos State, on Wednesday, against the backdrop of plans by the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) to relocate to Israel because of prosecution at home.
Fasehun identified with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhji Lai Mohammed, in his plea to the cleric to shelve the plan because of the wide ranging implications for Nigeria.
He urged both the Federal and the Lagos State governments to discontinue the judicial prosecution of Joshua as part of steps to discourage him from relocating to Israel.
“We shall be losing Joshua and SCOAN’s donations, charities and philanthropy worth about N8billion in scholarships, disaster relief, house rent support and sportsmen sponsorship among others.
He lamented that Nigeria had lost many of its best brains and citizens to the brain-drain syndrome, adding that recent statistics put the number of medical doctors that left the country at 15,000 with the negative impact on the health sector.
According to Fasehun, the relocation of Joshua, who said his church had been provided with land, building and facilities in Israel, would “be one brain-drain incident too many, as well as a national embarrassment.”
The OPC leader said the Nigerian government and Nigerians as a whole, should do everything possible to dissuade the preacher because the location would deny the country of the huge number of foreign tourists and worshippers, including world leaders that frequently seek “verifiable healings, deliverance, miracles and prosperity” since the church was established.
“SCOAN’s relocation amounts to losing our country’s reputedly biggest tourist attraction, the most visited destination point by religious tourists in West Africa, a place that the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) acknowledges as hosting six of every 10 foreigners travelling to this country.