Religion, Karl Marx, is quoted to have said, is the opium of the masses. To test the veracity of this statement, all you need is to visit Liberation City, Ojodu Berger, Lagos, where a visitor, who needs a spiritual help and desires to see the General Overseer, Dr. Chris Okafor should be prepared to pay N100,000.
From whichever angle you view it, the man of God who is popularly called the “Generational Prophet” by his members and admirers, and whose photo and programmes you find emblazoned, from time to time, on the bodies of many of the Lagos city-plying public buses is truly making a generational statement with the way he generates money for his special programmes including TV broadcast.
Shock that trailed a businessman’s search for solution
The N100,000, according to one of the church workers, is for TV programme support so that the Liberation Television that broadcasts live across the globe could be kept running. A businessman, Emmanuel Doki (not real names), who went there in search of solution to some marriage-related problem his life was beset with, confessed to our reporter that he was taken aback when he was told he would need to bring the said amount before he could be allowed to see the GO.
The problem that drove him to the place, Doki confided in Saturday Sun, was the strange happenings he has been battling with in his relationship with women. According to him, anytime he proposes marriage to a lady his business would begin to experience series of setbacks as if what he was about to do is a taboo. This phenomenon has happened many times over as to assume something of a regular pattern.
It was in the course of his search for solution that he was directed to the church, where he parted with the said amount before having access to the General Overseer. According to him, after praying for him, he was told to fast and pray for 14 weeks, and return to give a progress report. But Doki said that he was unable to fulfill the religious demand because he is an ulcer patient. He had thought that the servant of God would pray for him and get the problem solved once and for all, he said. The reporter initially doubted Doki’s story but later decided to investigate to be sure that he was not being sold a dummy.
The Reporter’s experience at Liberation City
The church holds prayer services every Wednesday and for three weeks running, he was there as a worshipper c*m discreet observer of the goings-on there.
At the administration department that handles booking of appointments with the GO, the reporter lied to the female officers in charge that he was a businessman based in Onitsha, Anambra State, but who has been experiencing mysterious downturns in his business in recent times, that require that he sees the man of God urgently before his business goes under forever. They told him that “Daddy” (meaning Dr. Okafor) sees first-timers only on Mondays, after which they reeled out a list of what is needed before one could see him.
Apart from payment of the mandatory N100, 000 or something above the cut, you must be in the Sunday service, between 7am and 8am and register as a first timer, he was told. You must also have with you a pack of some spiritual materials, comprising ‘anointed water’, ‘anointed oil’, which costs N6, 000, for a prayer programe that holds after the church service. Then on Monday, you buy a set of his books at the cost of N5, 000, before meeting with him.
While the reporter did not have any problem with all of that, he thought he could strike a bargain with the female administrative officers on the issue of the N100, 000 “spiritual consultation fee” and decided to try his luck. He begged them to accept N50, 000 from him as that was all he had, adding that he was just learning of the conditions. But he was shocked to be told that the N100, 000, which they said is for “television financial support” and not for the man of God’s personal needs, is the minimum. Since that is the case and he didn’t have all the money with him there, would they accept that he pay part of the money in cash and the rest with cheque? They said no before adding that “it is cash, which you must personally hand in to the man of God” as you go in to meet with him.
How to use the Liberation ‘anointing oil’
Debarred from seeing Pastor Okafor because of these stringent conditions, you decided to make yourself feel at home with just observation of proceedings. In due course, you discovered that there are many spiritual materials produced by the church to help people who are passing through one ‘spiritual’ affliction or the other.
For example, there is an anointing oil called, “Not my head, not my blood” which is said to be for family deliverance. It costs N2, 000. Investigation shows that you can’t drink it or rub it on your body, as it is mixed with sand. Explaining how to use it, one of the sellers, said: “You take the oil to your father’s house or your own house, if you have your own building, and shake the bottle vigorously before sprinkling the content round about the place. And, if possible, fast and pray for three days before using it.
“When you get to the centre of the compound,” she further explained, “you declare, ‘by the God of my Pastor, Dr. Chris Okafor, whatever that has been buried in the compound or in this ground that is working against me, is hereby destroyed, as I break this bottle, then you smash the bottle on the ground and the problem is over”.
For those who have the intention to build a house of their own or who started a long time ago but there appears to be some mysterious stagnation that has kept it at a standstill for a long period of time, the woman selling the anointing oil explains there is also the need to get the plot of land spiritually cleansed, and secured with “Not my blood not my head prophetic deliverance soil.” Wrapped in cellophane, the size of sachet water, it costs N2, 000.
Praying at the foundation of your house
According to the explanation you were given, when you get to the already dug foundation of your house, you empty the sand, bit after bit, on the four corners of the proposed house. With this, members believe that forces of darkness will keep off from the house. The vendors also claimed that a tenant who is facing some spiritual attacks can also apply it in his compound but they warned that he would need wisdom to do it in order not to raise the curiosity of other tenants. On what happens after this, she assured that the spiritual attacks would cease.
There is also the “solution and wonders oil’, which they claim is for use to get everything one wants including financial breakthrough and favours. It costs N2,000. “If you want to attract favour or you want financial breakthrough, this oil is recommended for you,” the vendors called out to people milling around their sale points, including this reporter.
Price list of some ‘spiritual armour fortifying’ materials
Other “spiritual armour fortifying” materials on display include “Liberation Oil”, which sells for N1,000, “Anointed Water”, in a well-designed pack, also costs N1000, “Miracle (Bethsaida) Water”, packaged in the usual 50cl. bottle, costs N500, while “Liberation Communion wine” is N1,000. There are other materials like mufflers, wristbands that are said to ward off satanic powers from users.
Mounted at the entrance to the church auditorium are four Points of Service (POS) for those who want to electronically “sow seed”, pay tithe, give offering, or fulfil other financial commitments to the church.
The reporter observed that the spiritual fervor exhibited by members during the marathon prayer session that holds on Wednesdays between 9am and 11 am, is enough to wake up the dead. But the church gives back to the people through its corporate social responsibility such as providing water, free of charge, to the people living in the area, apart from tarring the Odozie Street that leads to its premises.