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Senator lauds church's role in tourism growth

By The Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria

THE Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Anthony Agbo, has praised The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), for its contribution to Nigeria's development, especially the Federal Government's re-branding efforts.

The lawmaker noted that the SCOAN and its pastor, Temitope Balogun Joshua, have contributed immensely to tourism development in the country.

Agbo, who spoke to reporters, said that after watching the SCOAN's Emmanuel TV, he was overwhelmed by what he saw there.

He explained that the number of foreigners who troop to the church made him think about any other spot in the country that could attract such mammoth influx of people into Nigeria, stressing that such outlet could only be possible as a blessing of God.

He therefore called on the government to bestow the highest national honour award of Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON) on Pastor Joshua for his efforts to improve Nigeria's image and alleviate the people's sufferings in various ways.

His words: "I want to talk about something Nigerians have not been talking about all this while. You know whenever we want to talk about the country's independence, we talk of how painful the Nigerian state has been or how such a failure it has become. But I want to speak on a particular element, even in our country, which is so attractive to me and my personal disposition. I am talking about Pastor T. B. Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations. I am a practising Christian of the Catholic denomination. But any area I notice some fundamental value to this country I have a sense of responsibility to point out."

The senator who is also the National Patron of National Association of Disabled Persons in Nigeria, disclosed that though it was not too long he stumbled upon Emmanuel TV, he has become addicted to it more than other news channel, pointing out that the influx of citizens of different countries from many continents to benefit from healing and the un-paralleled charity works of the Synagogue made him happy to be a Nigerian.

Agbo, who represents Ebonyi North senatorial district, maintained that no single institution in the country has attracted different people from all over the world to Nigeria, describing Joshua as the greatest brand any country can ever wish to have, even as he called on other wealthy citizens and organisations to emulate the pastor's worthy example.

"Watching Emmanuel TV, I cannot see myself fail to glorify God for giving this kind of gift and man of God to Nigeria. If you watch this TV channel, you will discover that the Synagogue Church of All Nations has made Nigeria one of the world's hottest spots for religious tourism. You see the trains of different nationals, see them receive healing and instant solution to their problems and it does not stop with the healing and deliverances that are wrought by God, but when you now look at the level of the charity works this man is rendering to Nigerians that deserve them you would be overwhelmed," he stated.

He added: "In Emmanuel, I see in contrast how an individual is being used by God to gather all the people rejected by the society, dwarfs who nobody wants to associate with, widows with pathetic and plaintive cries as well as disabled persons who live under the bridges and on the streets of all states in Nigeria. He clothes, feeds and rehabilitates them. Mother Theresa of Calcutta got the Nobel prize and highest award in India. From what I have seen on Emmanuel TV, that man of God, Pastor T. B Joshua, deserves the national award in our country, GCON.

"Not only for his charitable works, but that award would also serve to glorify God. It is not for him as a person but to God for giving this gift to Nigeria and Africa, especially for bringing troubled souls from all corners of the globe to Nigeria to receive answers to their psycho-social problems. So I am really overwhelmed and I want it on record that I deeply glorify God for the gift of this man of God to Nigeria. And I am calling on President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, to give the highest national award to this Pastor. This should not be personalised because it is God that is working, so the idea is to glorify God."