Eight months after the Akwa Ibom State multi-billion naira International Worship Center was commissioned, the state government is receiving backlash over the edifice which gulped a whopping sum of N32.3 billion naira.
It will be recalled that the 5,000-capacity International Worship Center whose foundation was laid by Pastor Enoch E. Adeboye in January 2018 during the administration of Governor Emmanuel Udom was commissioned on Sunday, May 28.
It will be recalled that in 2019, Atheist Society of Nigeria sued the Akwa Ibom State Government over the construction of the multi-million International Worship Centre.
However, the Akwa Ibom High Court dismissed the legal action instituted by the Atheist Society of Nigeria (ASN) against the Akwa Ibom State Government for lack of merit.
The Chief Judge Justice Godswill Abraham who dismissed the case after eight months of judicial trial also awarded N500,000 costs against the Atheist Society of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State government began to receive heavy knocks after a journalist shared photographs of the worship centre on X on Wednesday, January 3rd 2024.
Reacting to the development via his X handle several times, Legal practitioner, Inibehe Effiong wrote:
“A useless, egoistic and senseless money laundering scheme masqueraded as a Worship Center. In a State where a vast majority of people are poor, hungry and in dire need of basic amenities, corrupt and mentally retarded politicians decided to waste billions of scarce resources on a duplicitous spiritual frivolity. It is disgusting that selfish and worldly religious leaders in Akwa Ibom State have aided this madness.”
“This is a State where Churches are scattered everywhere even as youths are largely unemployed. The government has no business building worship places. Udom Emmanuel should be ashamed of himself wherever he is. When you vote for idiots and criminals as governors, you are bound to have idiotic and criminally minded projects.”
“In a State where workers and pensioners are suffering and the youths are only left with political sycophancy as a means of survival, some people are busy praising a Worship Center when Churches are scattered everywhere. I weep for Akwa Ibom State.”
“Instead of building viable industries to lift the teeming youths out of poverty, the rotten and corrupt political class in Akwa Ibom would rather dissipate billions of Naira on a senseless Worship Center that does not glorify God. They know that if the youths are gainfully employed, they will not be celebrating their rottenness and mediocrity. A man who is gainfully employed will not be dancing before politicians for peanuts.
“Feed the citizens with silly religious propaganda, deprive them of mental independence and human agency, and they will eternally do your bidding.
What we have had over the years in Akwa Ibom State is not a government but a criminal enterprise. If we do not challenge this endless cycle of madness, we will continue to suffer. How can corrupt and ungodly politicians who have stolen so much from the State be the ones to build a place of worship for God? God is not mocked. I would rather not go to Church than be part of this criminal deceit. The so-called International Worship Center is just a conduit for fraud; it is a money laundering scheme that has been used to steal Akwa Ibom State resources. This is blasphemy. Evil thrives when good people stay silent.
Before you comment, take a look at the attached screenshots and tell me why billions of public funds should be dissipated on a ridiculous worship centre in a State with such a horrible state of amenities. Does it make sense? How can criminals be the ones to build a place of worship for God? It must be a fake god that they are talking about.”
According to an X user, Obinna wrote: “The politicians and Religion are the biggest weapons fashioned against Nigerians. Religion is an investment, the politicians invest in religion so that the gullible people can be deceived from the realities facing them.”
Franklin Chijioke, “Some so-called religious people don’t understand that a government building a worship center is a serious misplacement of priorities. It makes sense that this project is just a money laundering scheme”
Lamenting on the development, Miss Pearls wrote through her X handle, “Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company in Akwa Ibom has packed up citing challenging business situations. Meanwhile, the Gov just newly commissioned an International Worship Centre. Well, just mount hot praise and worship at the worship center, the company will be restored!”
Speaking on the issue, another X user FS Yusuf wrote via his handle, “We are very unserious in this country. What economic benefit will this bring? Oh, I forgot we love to pray for our economy. A state where millions of skilled and manual workers are jobless and hopeless has just used N32 billion (according to report) to build a church. Do you know why this abnormality is happening? The government knows that the people will rather pray for a miracle job than put the government on its toes to carry its duties of creating jobs or creating an enabling environment for people to create jobs.”
Other X user who lashed out at the Akwa Ibom state government are Onye Nkuzi who wrote, “Europe is full of empty cathedrals, and they are a lot better built than whatever our egos can conceive in contemporary Nigeria.
We are incurious, mentally lazy people, so we don’t think deeply about these things – but Europe’s history is out there, for anyone who wants to learn.”
And Nefertiti (first lady ship), who wrote via her X handle that “You have ExxonMobil in Eket. But just a handful of Akwa Ibomites work there. There is high unemployment in Akwa Ibom, but a massive Dolphin shaped Worship Center is more important to the governors.