The founder of one of Nigeria’s most popular Pentecostal churches, Believers Love World, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, is a man that should be avoided when COVID-19 is being discussed. Long before now, the founder of the church better known as Chris Embassy shot himself in the leg by doubting the existence of the Coronavirus. Since then, he has been labouring to justify his faulty position.
Some days back, a video of the pastor started making the rounds. In it, Pastor Oyakhilome faulted his colleagues who are promoting vaccination as a way of putting the virus at bay.
The man of God screamed: “What happened to you? Where is the word of God in your mouth? Do you realise if you believe in the word of God the way you believe in this vaccine, there will be power in your mouth?
“He made us healers. What’s wrong? What happened to you? When did we start making such recommendations to God’s people? For God’s sake, think again!
“How can they send to the churches, go tell them to take the vaccines. Listen if I say to someone, you shall live but not die, that’s it to him. Isn’t that the Bible that you read? Isn’t that the scripture that you read? Where is your God of Elijah, your God of Moses, your God of Peter, James and John? What’s the matter with you?”
In the thick of the pandemic last year, Pastor Oyakhilome told us there was a link between COVID-19 and 5G technology. This was at a time the United States recorded its biggest one-day cases with 45,242 infections. The country had had 2.5 million cases and, at that time globally, some 10 million cases had been recorded with no less than 500,000 deaths documented. Pastor Oyakhilome, in a live broadcast on his Love Word television, linked the 5G with COVID-19 and, of course, the Anti-Christ— that dreaded monster Christians like me have been prepared to look out for. With his smooth delivery, Oyakhilome laid bare the facts as his researches showed. In another video, he claimed the Federal Government ordered the closure of Abuja and Lagos so that 5G antennas could be mounted. He added clinchers: ‘Social distancing was introduced as a way of stopping people from protesting the 5G take-off, deaths are high where 5G has been installed and 5G is behind deaths in Wuhan’.
He found a way to drag in the Anti-Christ. He soon got converts who came up with all kinds of videos: One showed birds dead near an antenna and another showed trees with dead leaves. The birds were said to have died as a result of the radiation from the 5G mast or antenna. We were also told the leaves on the trees withered because of the fifth generation antennae installed near them. The blame was taken away from the fact that most trees were like that during winter and spring; they only regain their bloom in summer.
There was also an audio note promoting the pastor’s line of thought. The voice in the voice note claimed that the new technology was launched in Wuhan, where COVID-19 started. According to his warped logic, the Chinese knew the technology would lead to so much radiation that would kill people and so decided to introduce COVID-19 using the bat. This, the self-acclaimed expert, argued was to confuse people about what was killing them. He also put forward this false claim that many people in Wuhan were suddenly shaky and subsequently fall and die before help could come.
A ‘follower’ of Pastor Oyakhilome, Senator Dino Melaye, joined the fray posting videos after videos to prove a non-existent conspiracy. He later claimed he had received international calls threatening him to back down on his ill-advised propaganda against 5G. He claimed the callers said 5G was bigger than him and he should desist from trying to stop it. He added that he was not afraid and would keep up his foolishness.
Pastor Oyakhilome’s colleague, Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo of the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), has asked the Love Word founder questions that he is yet to provide answers to. He did not mention names in his response, but the allusions showed us unambiguously where the fingers of guilt were pointed. America, he said, will not destroy its 20 trillion dollar economy to put a chip on your body, and neither will Britain destroy its own.
“How come it (Coronavirus) got to my village where there is no 5G?”Ashimolowo wondered. He added that the Church has always suspected the Anti-Christ anytime the world is faced with a pandemic. He gave the examples of Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and how their actions made the Church assume the Anti-Christ was finally here.
With due respect to Pastor Oyakhilome, it is unfair to the world to use one’s vantage position to campaign against vaccination for a major plague. We are not new to vaccination. I suspect Pastor Oyakhilome might at one point or the other have been inoculated against yellow fever or any other disease. Vaccination has saved many from the scourge of polio.
I beg Pastor Oyakhilome to stop this faulty campaign. I doubt if God is against vaccination. We have a major health crisis in our hand and acting as facts custodians when all you hold on to are conjectures will not augur well for humanity. Please stop, now!