There are fears that Nigerians and Nigerian government may be in for serious shocks should the founder and Senior Pastor of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet T B Joshua finally heeds to growing calls and pressure from the State of Israel to move and relocate the entire church to any portion of land he may like around the respected sites around the Sea of Galilee or Nazareth.
The church is currently located at number 1, Segun-Irefin Street, Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, Nigeria.
The man of God paid a visit to the State of Israel and toured several monument sites last week and came back within the week.
Breaking the news of his invitation to relocate yesterday during Sunday Service live broadcast from Ikotu, Lagos, Nigeria, on Emmanuel TV, he said “I have been officially invited by the three Mayors of strategic religious sites in Israel including Nazareth, Jordan valley and Jerusalem to come and take lands, build and operate SCOAN considering the true work of God he has been doing in Nigeria”.
Business Hilights investigations on what Nigeria stands to lose as a nations showed among other things that international visits to SCOAN alone remains the single largest pull factor and attraction force of foreigners visiting Nigeria for tourism either religious or otherwise in the last 10 years.
Though efforts to get real international visitors traffic at the church failed at press time, checks at both Abuja and Lagos Airports showed that majority of mass traffic by foreigners are for the church.
A source very close to the church told Business Hilights on phone that SCOAN welcomes a weekly tourists traffic of not less than 200 international visitors.
Going by this statistics, it means that the federal government alone earns first of all, five per cent Passenger Service Charge infused into the way back ticket of each and every one of them through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This tax is statutorily collected by the airlines and remitted to government through the NCAA.
Whereas this collection runs into billions of naira on a quarterly basis, it is also on record since the beginning of insurgency in the North East, the federal government introduced what can be called Air security tax used to deepen security systems at the airports which is $20 per air passenger. This tax too, is embedded in the air fare, collected by airlines and remitted to the federal government.
Statistics also show that over $1 billion dollars are now in the dedicated account for the tax and further investigations show that visitors’ to SCOAN make over 78 per cent of the air travelers visiting Nigeria weekly.
This scenario further revealed ab-inito, why Ethiopian Airline never joined the number of foreign airlines who rejected Kaduna International Airport during the six weeks of runway repairs at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. A top official of the federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) who pleaded anonymity confided in Business Hilights publisher that over 50 per cent of visitors within the period using Ethiopian Airline, routed their visit to SCOAN via Kaduna and from there they pick up another flight down to Lagos within the period. This on its own, means traffic and more business both at Kaduna and Lagos Airports. Whereas federal government makes money within the process, private sector operators are also gainers.
On what the Lagos State government had been gaining, a visit to Ikotu, the current location of the church showed massive rise in hotels developments by private investors within the radius of the church.
Whereas the hoteliers rake in foreign direct cash from the visitors who lodged in their hotel rooms, the state government deepens its tax basket by several taxes paid by the hotels.
At the community level, several supermarkets and eateries within the axis also enjoy their own chunk of the gains of the church location in Nigeria.
Besides, the Local Government also has a way of raising income from the presence of the church in the axis.
On other business opportunities’, there has been a rise in number of jobless youths who are now engaged in Airport taxi, Airport shuttle services and even Okada riders stationed at Cele and Airport Road Junctions making their daily bread by moving international visitors to and fro the Church.
Finance analysts who have put together all the economic multiplier effects of the Church’s location in Nigeria say the gains are unimaginable; stressing that any attempt to move out of Ikotu or Nigeria in particular will lead to the closure of several businesses and possibly turn Ikotu a mini ghost town after all.
Giving more insights to his challenges and unfolding developments during yesterday’s Sunday Service monitored by Business Hilights team of editors in Lagos through the live telecast, Prophet Joshua said in parts; “Image I relocate the Ministry to another country what will happen to Nigerian investments in hotels around Ikotu and environs, Taxi drivers who move visitors to and fro the Airport”.
But these are the things our people don’t take to consideration and they want TJ Joshua’s head at all costs.
“If you are a man of the people, you have their affairs in your heart. You will be able to know how your people are doing, how would they succeed, eat and all that and I consider all these.
“So when I was there four days ago, they took me to a hall, (Please can you play that again, show them the hall); They took me to the hall, and they said, Prophet TB Joshua, if you are ready, we are ready to assign this place for your mission.
“So, Ehm, I looked at myself, I said haa!, Nigeria.
Thousands of hotels, hoteliers, where would they go? What will happen if I relocate?
Unemployment, taxi drivers, out of eight to 10 people coming to you as a taxi driver, eight of them from Synagogue.
“And, I know that Israel is where my father in haven came from. This is not negotiable. I said not negotiable.
If it were to be any other country, I will negotiate, but Israel is the land of my father in heaven.
“I was taken to four strategic places to make my choice on location of the Church in Israel. They include Sea of Galilee; a land direct to the Sea of Galilee. They said if I don’t want that hall and want to build mine, this is land behind the Sea of Galilee.
“The three mayors came together. These are the key places religious tourists go in Israel-: Nazareth, Capernaum and others are under them.
The three mayors are in charge of the key religious tourist sites.
You hear what they are saying? They want me to come over.
“That showed that they have watched Emmanuel TV so much. Why, because what is happening is exactly what they hear about our father in Heaven.
Imagine somebody on the wheelchair at the pool of Bethsaida got healed; the record will be back if I relocate.
I can see the reason why they would encourage the Ministry of TB Joshua to come and stay in Israel.
I take it back again, where would all these big hotels here in Ikotu and environs go? Where would they go and the best place to meet TB Joshua will be Nazareth, Galilee. Israel is the best place to meet me.
“After your healing, you now move round to see all religious tourist places, spiritual monuments, to establish your faith, it’s the best place.
It’s the best place to meet Prophet TB Joshua. After your healing or your blessing and deliverance, you now move round all the spiritual monuments, to establish your faith that is the best place.
“But human side of me; is complaining. What human side of me is complaining? All these big, big, big hotels they build around me with trillion dollars, taxi driver, Customs, people coming from all over the world to promote our country Nigeria”.
Any time they come, as they are going back, whoever meets them and say anything bad about Nigeria, they will tell them, no! The country is not as bad as you say because I have been there to see Prophet TB Joshua.
“Because some people believe this country is bad, but when you go back you start to tell them, no no no, it’s good. I have been there. What a wonderful promotion.
Changing people’s impression of the nation.
“Now, if somebody like me will leave Nigeria and live in Israel, what impression will the world have on Nigeria? Many will ask if the man could leave the country, what is happening.
But God is still saying something. May be God want Nigerians to appreciate me and my God.
Yes, may be God is trying to prove something. They do not know what you stand for and what you are doing.
“Ok, let’s go to Israel for two or three month’s revival and see how Nigerians will appreciate what has been happening here at Ikotu, Lagos, Nigeria and Africa in general.
“May be let’s just invite the whole world to meet me for some days at Nazareth and let’s see how things will look like here in Nigeria…I think God want to prove something.
“I want to thank God. Let me give you an advice. If your people are saying good about you, abroad they cannot believe you. They will not respect you. Its better they abuse you and spoil your name. They know that those they spoil their names are those the world respect.
“I grow to know this because of what is happening to me. Because I was shocked in Israel. They did not allow me to explain myself.
“They told me that we know what you are doing. Don’t try to explain yourself. We have been watching you for the past three years. I was shocked…