The Zambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Solomon Jere, has revealed how the Founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Pastor T.B. Joshua, has been aiding the development of his country’s relationship with Nigeria.
Jere stated this in an interview with This Day Newspaper.
“As we approach the end of the year, you will see a lot of Zambians coming for T.B. Joshua’s programmes,”Jere explained, adding that Zambians constitute a sizeable number of visitors to Nigeria for the purposes of religious tourism.
He said: “I can’t estimate the number coming into Nigeria when it comes to religious tourism… But I must tell you it will run into hundreds of thousands annually.
“On a weekly basis you will see on Emmanuel TV many Zambians proudly waving their national flags during the live televised services conducted by TB Joshua.
“We are looking forward to seeing TB Joshua visit Zambia so that he sees where the faithful are coming from.”
Jere explained that several other Nigerian megachurches, including Winners Chapel and Redeemed Christian Church Of God, have established prominent branches in the Southern African nation.
He opined that Nigerian men of God were at the forefront of spiritual awakening, especially within Africa.
“Zambia is a Christian nation and… we are happy the Zambians are being anointed by the men of God in Nigeria… The men of God from here are not just assets for Nigeria but for all of us. We are just coming here to benefit from this,” he stated in the interview.
Touching on other topics, Jere called on Nigeria to invest more in Zambia, noting the popularity of the Nollywood film industry in his nation.
He also lauded the number of Nigerians intermarrying with Zambians, adding this would further help to blossom relations.
The impact of Joshua’s influence on Nigeria’s international relations was equally highlighted in a heartwarming story published in Nigeria’s The Nation Newspaper, detailing a Russian’s journey to Nigeria to visit the acclaimed SCOAN.
Svetlana Fedorova from St Petersburg, Russia, said she has visited Nigeria “four times in six years” to attend Joshua’s church, choosing to stay in the home of a Lagos resident on the last two occasions where she felt she had found a “second family” and enjoyed local cuisine.
Fedorova, who volunteered as an interpreter at Christ Embassy’s branch in Russia, said her initial fears about visiting Nigeria were soon allayed by the warm reception she received and the friendliness of the Nigerians she encountered.
Her friend, Anton Aksenenko, stated he would have considered relocating to Nigeria to be close to Joshua’s ministry if not for his family based in Russia.
Official statistics from Nigeria’s immigration services revealed that six out of every 10 foreigner in Nigeria visit The SCOAN in Lagos, cementing Joshua’s image as one of Nigeria’s most lucrative tourist attractions.